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December 5, 2007

Bruce Bochy

Q. You guys have mentioned a couple times about how Winn projects more as a centerfielder. Can you elaborate on that?
BRUCE BOCHY: I don't know if he projects more. He gives you that versatility, the flexibility to move over to center if we choose to do so with the plan to put Dave Roberts in leftfield. And, depending on which way we go, we can answer this better in the spring, whether it's Davis that's going to be out in center or Schierholtz in right. Fred Lewis or Dan Ortmeier, but -- so, we have some moving parts, which is a good thing. Not just in the outfield, but in the infield with Frandsen, Aurilia, something doesn't happen with Pedro at 3rd base or 1st base, Richie can play there or Ortmeier.

Q. It seems like Davis and Roberts would be natural sort of platoon partners. Are you looking at that in leftfield or having one play?
BRUCE BOCHY: I don't know if it would be strict platoon. These are things that you're talking about, that again would be answered more as we get deep into Spring Training where we think we're better off platooning Davis and Roberts or let Schierholtz play every day or Freddy Lewis. Hopefully, somebody steps up in the spring and really takes over a job, because usually you go to Spring Training, you're pretty well set. But this is a spring that will be important, I think for a couple players.

Q. If you were to guess, would Schierholtz or Frandsen have the best shot at cracking every day, one of those two guys or somebody else, including, Davis, Ortmeier?
BRUCE BOCHY: I can't say who has a better chance. Obviously Frandsen, with the job he did in September, he played as well as anybody in the club. We'll do all we can to get him in there, and then Schierholtz will come off a year in Fresno. And the numbers he had up with us in the fall, I can't say who has it. They both could be in there.

Q. Have you personally talked to Pedro or try to maybe recruit him at all to come back on a one-year deal?
BRUCE BOCHY: No. I haven't talked to Pedro at all. Pedro knows how I feel. I talked to him at the end of the season. We knew this -- there were going to be negotiations, and it's part of the game. He knows how I feel.

Q. Do you think it will take one additional hitter or maybe two to kind of help revamp the offense from the outside?
BRUCE BOCHY: You know, I think what we need our guys to go out and have the year that they're accustomed to having, what their track record shows. Ray Durham, like Randy Winn did this year, Dave Roberts.
They had the years that we expect them to have. We should put more runs on the board, but last year, if you look -- I mean, Omar had a down year offensively. So we just need our guys to bounce back and have the kind of years that you pencil in before you start the season.

Q. Are you saying that not a lot of help is needed?
BRUCE BOCHY: Brian is looking for help, yeah. We're looking for bats, but I'm just saying along that line, we need our other guys. It's not -- the answer is not going to be one guy. It's going to take all our guys coming through with their normal years.

Q. How do you go about instilling that warrior spirit or warrior mentality you mentioned at the end of the season? I'm sure it's obviously not just an instant process. It's -- it requires a commitment from each guy and reinforcement from you.
BRUCE BOCHY: It does. I think you work on it in the spring, Spring Training. You're not there just for the physical part of it, the conditioning, but you're also hopefully working on your preparation mentally going into the season. That's what myself, the staff, that's what we want to work on this spring, probably changing the way we approach a game, both, you know, as far as having that warrior spirit but the brand of ball we want to play.
We can't -- we can't have one guy that we're going to wait for -- wait to carry the day. It's going to take everybody playing the game. Every team wants to do that. It's going to be so important for us. We're not going to have a guy that's going to hit 40 homeruns. We know it. But if we get the years that we expect from our guys, we play the type of ball that we're looking for, it's probably running a little bit more, doing some things on the bases a little bit more that we can create enough runs and win more of these close ball games that we lost last year.

Q. I apologize if you covered this already. Winter Meeting is nearly over. Are you confident, whether it's before you leave Nashville or going forward, that you can make an impact move?
BRUCE BOCHY: Well, I mean, we're working on it. Yeah, we're confident we'll go in the spring and, you know, be a different ball club and maybe surprise a lot of people. I mean, when you lose a player like Barry Bonds, you're going to be a different ball club.
We're comfortable we'll get something done.

Q. If you've walked through the lobby here, you've heard a thousand rumors probably. When you hear the name Cain, Lincecum out there as potential rumors, how does that make you feel?
BRUCE BOCHY: Great young pitchers. You expect to hear their names tossed around because a lot of clubs would love to have a Cain or Lincecum, but these are part of the trade talks that happen and -- they're a vital part of our success, our starting rotation. We have a strong foundation there, and that's really what kept us in a lot of games even though our record wasn't great. But we did have a chance to win a lot of those ball games. That's because of our pitching.

Q. Be hard to give up on either one of those guys as the manager.
BRUCE BOCHY: Sure. I mean, they're special, both of them. You don't come across on one club two young talents like this very often, and we had some needs, and, of course, most of the other clubs are looking for help on the pitching side. That's why they're asking about them. Well, we can fill some holes on the offensive side. I'm not saying one of those two.

Q. What did you make the way that Lowry ended the year? I know he wasn't able to get all the way through it, but I mean he managed to win 14 games, which was quite an accomplishment, given where you guys were in the standings. Where is he physically, to your knowledge?
BRUCE BOCHY: He's throwing now. He feels fine, great. We probably could have pushed him there at the end if it was a little different circumstances, but -- had him ready before the season was over, but it just was not worth of the risk. Back throwing and feels great. And he's ready to go and really, it's an impressive year. You look at our record and what he did. Coming out of Spring Training, he was struggling probably like Matt more.
So, that's the ironic part. Both of them came out of the chute and threw well. Lowry did that throughout the season. He did develop a pretty good breaking ball that he could throw at anytime. That made him a different pitcher to go along with the changeup and fastball.

Q. You say at one point late in the season you like to go -- everybody like to go into Spring Training with the closer situation set, even though it's going -- looks like it's going to be competition. Are you satisfied that at least you know it's somewhat defined?
BRUCE BOCHY: Yeah. It is somewhat defined. I think you look at how it went, September, with even late August with Wilson and Walker and Hennessey that we were better. We held those leads, helped us win a lot of those close ball games we were losing earlier.
Brian Wilson, now, he's got to feel good about what he did coming up, getting his pitching back on track. And Walker, I expect him to be even stronger this coming year with winter rest out of the surgery. So these two should be in a great frame of mind coming in.
Hennessey, the way he stepped up and saved those games there for us, you know, stumbled there for a little bit but bounced back. Got three guys that have closing experience. Whether you're in that 6th or 7th inning, that's valuable. 6th, 7th, or 9th inning. They're all vital innings.

Q. Cut me off if this has been asked. Is it going to dramatically change -- how dramatically does the change the face of your lineup without having Bonds there, the threat of that guy in the middle?
BRUCE BOCHY: I think without question it changes the lineup. That's what we talked about earlier. You have to play a little different brand of ball, which we'll have to do. You're not going to have a guy that you're going to wait on to carry the day for you or provide the power that Barry did for years. He's not easily replaced, but one good way to replace it is to probably change it, change the style of ball you play to help get some runs across the board.

Q. It's funny, since we've gone back to this unbalanced schedule, you really get to know the teams in your own division, seen all year long. What was it like for you to watch the NLCS and see those two teams in it?
BRUCE BOCHY: I thought about that. These are the two teams that a couple years ago I don't think anybody expected them to be where they were last year. And just goes to show you that how fast things can turn around, how much parity there is in baseball. Sometimes you may have to take a step backwards to get things back in order, and they showed how fast that can happen.
That's why despite our record last year, look what Arizona did the year before and winning our division. It could turn around fast. If your young players come through for you and again, always comes down to pitching, both teams, you talk about the Rockies offense, they threw the ball well, too, had a good pen.

Q. On the same token, so many young players on both teams with upside and both those teams getting most of their pieces back. Is it fair to say it's going to be a tall order to compete in the division for any team, talent level of the division?
BRUCE BOCHY: Against those teams?

Q. Those teams look like they're probably getting better.
BRUCE BOCHY: They are. Those young players, they can go out there every day. Your lineup stays consistent. Those guys don't need that time off. Once they had that sense of belonging, a lot of those young players from both teams, they just took off.
I think you look at the Dodgers, they've got a lot of good young talent there, too. You're going to have your workout in this division. It wasn't that long ago this division was made fun of, but I think you look at it now, it's one of the best division in baseball as far as the young talent and pitching.

Q. Did you know Joe Torre growing up?
BRUCE BOCHY: Pretty tee good guy.

Q. Looking forward to seeing him?
BRUCE BOCHY: He's going to create a lot of interest in our division. We'll get a little bit more attention I'm sure with Joe coming over to manage the Dodgers, our division. It gets forgotten sometimes. I think it's the toughest division in baseball right now as far as the balance.

Q. No weak sisters of the poor.

Q. Your lefties in the bullpen seem to be very up and down last year. Would you like to see another left-handed option added to that mix to compete with what you already have?
BRUCE BOCHY: We discussed that, yeah. But we have -- getting back to what I talked about, your guys, you need them to do what you're looking or expecting from them and that's it. Our left-handers were not as good as they should have been against left-handers. I hope it's more of an aberration. Kline, he was good, but he had tough times against certain lefties like others. So that is an area we got to improve on, whether -- I'm not a firm believer, I'm not a big believer in putting lefties against lefties. We have right-handers at the back end of our bullpen just as comfortable against lefties as getting a lefty just to have a lefty there.

Q. Do you anticipate going into the season with Wilson as the closer?
BRUCE BOCHY: Yeah. I think we're looking at it right now, I'll have Walker help out.

Q. More like his job or his job to lose?
BRUCE BOCHY: We're not -- I don't want to say every game is going to be decided whether he's -- he's going to be our closer. He comes in in the spring and throws the ball like he did, it's going to be his job. We're not going to be concerned with the results in the spring.
I think last Spring Training down in Puerto Rico he tweaked his delivery and threw him out of sync a little bit. I think he learned from that. He's got the mentality to do it. He has the stuff to do it and resilience.
How about Lints closing? You don't want it?

Q. Cain closing?
BRUCE BOCHY: Both of them to close.

Q. Go to a six-man rotation.
BRUCE BOCHY: Nothing today. It thought there would be a couple trades today.

Q. Still early.
BRUCE BOCHY: Lot of people were leaving, taking off.

Q. When you guys leaving, tomorrow?
BRUCE BOCHY: Soon as we get Santana.

Q. He's trying.
BRUCE BOCHY: Scratch that.

Q. Lot of people think Lincecum would be a pretty interesting end-of-the-game guy.

Q. You guys kicked that around at all?
BRUCE BOCHY: Yeah. Even last year, last spring. He would be a good closer. He's a good starter. He's just so resilient.

Q. Lincecum? How serious were your thoughts?
BRUCE BOCHY: Serious enough to where, you know, debated. But you've got a kid that's just pitched a year out of college, give him a change of role, that would probably be a little difficult for him coming up to the Big League and coming up as a closer. That probably would put some added pressure on him.

Q. That's done, he's the starter for good?
BRUCE BOCHY: Right now.

Q. Kind of sound like you might be in the camp to be pushing for that, to see him as a reliever?

Q. Lincecum.
BRUCE BOCHY: Would I be pushing him? No. No. I think he'd be a heck of a closer, but that's just a credit to his stuff and his makeup and resilience. No. It's hard to find starters, too, that can maintain his stuff in the 7th, 8th inning.
We have so many good starters in our division. You like to have a guy on the mound that you think you can match up with other people and keep their offense, down, too. He's that kind of guy.

Q. That debate was last Spring Training you were talking about it?
BRUCE BOCHY: Yeah. It's just one of those baseball talks. You're in the clubhouse with the staff. We talk about a lot of things. It's come up with him.

Q. Is that the last time you talked about it or talked about it this off-season, too?
BRUCE BOCHY: Occasionally it gets brought up, you know, somebody will bring it up again potentially what a great closer he could be.

Q. Is there any thought to his physical makeup being an issue in terms of durability, longevity?
BRUCE BOCHY: Some guys, that would be why you would make a change with him and make him a closer. Look at Oswalt, Hudson, lot of smaller guys that hold up 30, 32 starts, do fine.

Q. Right now who would be in your pool of candidates to hit 3, 4, and 5? The guys you have in-house, who would be candidates? I'm not saying who would be hit there.
BRUCE BOCHY: Winn, Molina, Durham, Aurilia. Name somebody else? Schierholtz.

Q. Guy who played second for you late in the year that you got from Toronto, have you looked at him? Does he still need more development time?
BRUCE BOCHY: Velez? He needs some more development. He had a good fall league. I think he was thrown out one time in about 20 attempts.

Q. Got a live body?
BRUCE BOCHY: Yeah. We need to develop him a little more. He's intriging, this kid.

Q. I guess it could depend on how you construct your roster, a long way off, but could he maybe have a chance to compete for kind of a utility bench/whatever role coming out of camp, or you imagine he'll start next year in the Minor League?
BRUCE BOCHY: He'll get considered, but I'd say it's unlikely we would start him as a utility player in that role. We'd like to continue his development. I don't think you rule it out.

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