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December 6, 2006

Buddy Bell


Q. Wanted to get your comments on the trade this morning, first of all.
BUDDY BELL: Well, obviously, it's kind of bittersweet. You're with the kid for a couple of years and you know especially a young arm like that, you know, you hate to lose somebody like that. I mean, he's got a great arm, bright future, obviously. But we've been sitting on this kid for a while now, a faster kid and great reports in a lot of different areas, and we need starting pitching. We need young starting pitching and it's -- unfortunately, you got to give up a guy like Burgos to do that, but we feel good about it. And I just got off the phone with him a couple of minutes ago and told him we felt that he was not a lock for our rotation, but feel comfortable that he is a viable candidate, without any question. I don't think you'd trade a guy like Burgos and not have a guy that is really going to compete for your rotation.

Q. How are you feeling physically?
BUDDY BELL: You know what, I feel great. Thank you. You know, it's weird, you know? I was talking to Tracy before and you -- I don't know there's a lot of things that go on in your head and stuff like that, but I'm over that and I've got my energy and everything looks good. I don't want to do it again though. You know, I hope I don't have to go through this any more, but people go through a lot worse. But I feel pretty good. Feel real good as a matter of fact, thanks.

Q. Burgers now?
BUDDY BELL: A hard time tasting them, Sam, but I'm eating them.

Q. None of this, right? (Imitating smoking.)
BUDDY BELL: No shit. I could use one right now, but I feel good. The only thing I crave right now is a pizza every once in a while is a cheeseburger. I feel good.

Q. You have taste, but is it texture?
BUDDY BELL: Kind of messes with your taste buds. Yeah, that too. Yeah. You know, I can deal with that. You know, it is better than the alternative, you know?

Q. This is something I'm sure you've been with aggressively, but this is less than three months ago, the surgery. Did they tell you -- this couldn't have been a prognosis, that three months, you'd be up and around and fine?
BUDDY BELL: Well, you know, the doctor told me that, you know, I would be -- I would feel pretty good within a fairly short period of time, you know? Um, you know, said probably six months, you know. You start feeling, you know, normal again. But I actually feel -- I'm really not sure what normal feels like, to be honest with you. But I'm guessing that feels pretty normal, you know?
You know, I had a great doctor, and, you know, it just happened so fast, too, that I really didn't have a whole lot of time to think about it.

Q. What do you look the next year -- how do you see your guys against the rest of the division, matching up?
BUDDY BELL: Well, we got a ways to go yet, I think. I think it depend a lot on what we get -- what happens the next couple of days, you know, the free agents and things like that. I think that will -- I think I could answer that better in a couple of days, hopefully. But I like our position players. I like the way Shealy, Grudzielanek, Angel, I'm confident they will come back strong.
You know, whoever plays third, you know, we got a kid at my L.A. system that is supposed to be a hell of a player. I've seen him, but again, I don't think you can guarantee anybody with that kind of experience a spot on the club, but we are going to give him every opportunity. And Jesus and Teahan and LaRue, and we've made a lot of positive changes and we just hope that we can compete.
The last 100 games or so, I don't know what it was, but we made a lot of progress and a lot of our guys are battered and bruised in April and May, not only physically but emotionally. And we came out pretty good, I think. They handled it pretty good.

Q. I know it's December 6th. Is that a platoon? How do you see that at this moment, subject to change?
BUDDY BELL: You know, I would hope that somebody emerges as the number one guy. I mean, that's what I would prefer. I like Leroux. I like Buck. It could work out differently, but I'm hoping it is one way or the other.

Q. Kind of the same player, isn't it?
BUDDY BELL: Yeah. Makeup's a little different. I think that can make -- I think that might be the biggest difference whether John wins it or Jason wins it, I think a lot of it is going to have to do with the makeup.

Q. You talked lot about Shealy, especially toward the end of last year. Are you expecting -- or what kind of progress are you expecting from him next year?
BUDDY BELL: I hope he plays exactly the way he did when we got him. This kid's a man. He's a man and he's a great teammate. He played great defensively. He might have played better defensively than he played offensively. I mean, he was really good. You know, because of his size, he doesn't have great range, but he's got great hands. He's got a knack for driving in runs. He is going to be a big RBI guy. I'd like to see him be a little bit more aggressively offensively. You know, I think he's a little too selective at times, but I'd like to see him play just like he did when we got him. He played pretty damn good. You know, we keep forgetting about him too, because we only had him for a short time.

Q. Yeah. You think it helps a young team like yours not only to play better, but they did it against pretty good competition?
BUDDY BELL: Yeah. I don't know. I would hope to think that's good. We hope to find out. We need to get off to a good start. I really believe we need to do that continue whatever momentum we had at the end of last season with our players. I think we open up with Boston, Detroit. I think it's really capable of getting off to a good start, you know? We made some changes, but the core is still there. Haven't really made a lot of changes there.

Q. Do you have a reaction or opinion about some of these deals that have -- some of the contracts that have been given out and expected to be given out these next couple of days?
BUDDY BELL: No, not really. Not anymore, Sam. I used to, but it is what it is. When they ask me about a player now, I don't even factor in the money anymore, I just say I like him or I don't like him.

Q. I guess I was just wondering more if it's -- and I know you don't want to complain, it is frustrating to get priced out. Some guys that maybe you initially think you have a shot at and then it turns out that --
BUDDY BELL: You know if we don't get some of these guys we are bidding after right now, it is going to have nothing to do with getting outbid. Nothing, honestly. That means just a matter of where the player wants to go. He wants to come to Kansas City, then the money's there. That's a little different than it used to be.

Q. At this point heading into spring training, what do you need to find out?
BUDDY BELL: Well, who's on our team? That's one thing. And then Angel's important to us, really important to us. You know, Angel just kind of clearing his mind and not worrying about some of the peripheral stuff that goes on in Kansas City and just kind of -- just do his job, and, you know, I'd like to see him -- I'd like to feel good about where his mind is going into the season. Other than that, I think it's kind of business as usual. It's nothing.

Q. Has German played in the outfield this winter?

Q. And what's the report?
BUDDY BELL: He's fine. When he comes to spring training, we look at him more of a super utility guy. He is going to get a lot more time in the outfield of spring training this year. He's going to play at third base. He is going to play some short. You know, we were talking about that the other day, if something would happen to Angel, we might probably move, might play Grud at short a couple of times in spring training. But we got, you know we got -- I'm not sure if he had the kind of year that he had because of the way we used him.

Q. Or whether he can do that he have other --
BUDDY BELL: Or if he can do that over more at-bats. You know, I'm not sure, but I like him. I mean, he knows what he's doing, but do we get more out of the way? We use him or does something happen once he gets past that point, you know?

Q. You need someone else that can play first?
BUDDY BELL: Yeah. Yeah. There's been a big discussion too. Like I said, I think Teahan could, probably get him to take some ground balls at first, a little bit, kind of like a Berkman, but we got to make sure that his arm's good and we don't want to move him in the infield and the outfield. And then as spring training moves on, he'll do some work in the infield, you know, once his arm is sound.

Q. Would it be accurate to say rotation is wide open heading into spring training?
BUDDY BELL: Well, yeah. Yeah. There's a couple of spots that -
Q. You have some favorites?
BUDDY BELL: Odalis, Hudson, and we really like De La Rosa. And I think Perez and Hudson are pretty solid guys, you know? We had any kind of consistency in our ball playing, Hudson would have, I don't know how many games. He would have won a hell of a lot more than they did. And then you got Greinke, Bannister. We are kind of toying with the idea of Wellemeyer maybe going to spring training as a starter. I mean, it's still pretty much up in the air, but those two guys I mentioned, Perez and Hudson, they are pretty much guaranteed that they will be in the rotation, unless something crazy happens. They deserve to be.

Q. What kind of role do you see Joe Nelson having?
BUDDY BELL: Anywhere from closer to the middle of the game. I don't know. You know, Joe's got some versatility and that's good. Again, the bullpen's wide open as well, with some good arms. We got this kid Ray, not bad. Seeing the reports are good. Wellemeyer, Peralta. We are going to be better. Hopefully, a lot better.

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