Bell's son is team's third baseman
PHILADELPHIA -- Buddy Bell wants a chance to manage a contending team instead of a rebuilding one, and sees the Philadelphia Phillies as a perfect situation. That his son, David Bell, is the starting third baseman has nothing to do with it.
"He's comfortable with the situation," the elder Bell said Monday following his interview with Phillies general manager Ed Wade. "He's more established than he was six or seven years ago. I have no problem and he says he's comfortable and that's all I care about."
Bell was the fourth candidate to interview for the vacant managerial position after Larry Bowa was fired and the first one who grounded and hit grounders to one of the players.
The Phillies already have interviewed former managers Don Baylor, Charlie Manuel and Grady Little and will interview former Phillies manager Jim Fregosi on Tuesday, former Phillies catcher John Russell on Wednesday and Braves hitting coach Terry Pendleton on Thursday.
Wade said there's one other candidate he might talk to, but he disclosed no details. The Phillies could have a new manager by next week, he said.
Wade never asked Bell in the interview about managing his son, although he did talk with David shortly after the season ended. Wade said the younger Bell supported the decision to interview his father, although he will support whomever the Phillies choose.
"I've spent two years with David and I talked to a lot of people about Buddy and I don't think it would have any real significance," Wade said.
In recent years, Moises Alou played for Felipe Alou in Montreal, Aaron Boone played for Bob Boone in Cincinnati and Brian McRae played for Hal McRae in Kansas City. Cal Ripken Sr. and Yogi Berra have also managed their sons.
Bell managed the Detroit Tigers from 1996-98 and the Colorado Rockies from 2000-02, and is now the bench coach for the Indians. He went 346-462 (.428) as a manager with only one winning season.
Bell said he would return to Cleveland if he isn't hired as a manager.
The Phillies went 86-76 this year under Bowa and finished 10 games out of first place. Bell, who never won more than 82 games, said he had no interest in again managing a rebuilding team.
"This is a much better team than I've ever had the chance to be around, hopefully," he said.
Bell said that although he's familiar with the Phillies from watching his son, he didn't really talk to David about personnel or personalities. Still, he has own thoughts on what the Phillies need to reach the postseason.
"If we -- if the Phillies -- want to be world champions, their pitching has to be a little bit stronger," he said.
Bell played for the Indians from 1972 until he was traded in 1978 to the Texas Rangers. He also played with Cincinnati and Houston before retiring in 1989. He was a five-time All-Star and won six consecutive Gold Gloves at third. Bell's father, Gus, played 14 seasons in the major leagues.
The Phillies signed utility infielder Tomas Perez to a two-year deal with an option for 2007. ... The Phillies also made a contract offer to free-agent starter Eric Milton (14-6, 4.75 ERA) and plan to make one to Cory Lidle (12-12, 4.90 ERA). ... Left fielder Pat Burrell will see a specialist Tuesday in Baltimore, though surgery on his wrist was not considered an option. Burrell injured his wrist in August and returned to play the final month after it was originally thought that he'd miss the rest of the season.
Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press
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