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07/23/2002 3:55 pm ET
Hendry: No fire sales
New GM takes fan questions on variety of topics
By Amy Sternig / MLB.com
Moderator: Thanks for joining us today everyone. Jim is ready for your questions!
JMoss98: With the hitting problems on this team, will Julio Zuleta (who has dominated Triple-A for three years) ever get a chance to be a pinch hitter or spot starter?
Jim Hendry: Julio is having a very fine year for us in Iowa. We thought when we brought Echevarria up his ability to hit and play the outfield was better than Julio. That played a role in the decision. It's not out of the realm of possibility that he could be up this season.
Cubs2003: Have the Cubs designated someone to assume Dave Bialas`s duties as Field Coordinator yet?
Hendry: Actually its been divided up by Oneri Fleita and I think he's taken a more active role. That's the reason why the job will not be filled permanently in the event Bruce is not named manager next year, Bialas could assume that role again. But we're very happy with the job that Dave did as field coordinator.
SouthernIvy: Will the team stick with Corey Patterson through his slump or will he be sent down if he does not start hitting soon? If he is sent down, do you really believe he has anything left to learn in the minor leagues?
Hendry: I believe Corey will stay up here. Just going through a bit of a slump. He had a solid first half and played exceptionally well. He's played quality defense and is running the bases well. He's just going through a normal thing. Overall he's had a very solid year.
CubFan73: Mr. Hendry, do you plan on keeping Bellhorn next year and making him an every day player?
Hendry: That will be determined what happens in offseason. We are very happy with Bellhorn. For him to produce at this level is new for him also. Certainly he is a piece of the puzzle in a variety of different roles.
BIGSTU: What are the chances that Tom Gordon will be traded
Hendry: We're getting a lot of interest in our pitchers -- Tom included. We don't feel any pressure. We'll see how the next week plays out. There are a lot of scouts here this week looking at players -- Tom included. If there is a deal to be made for the good of the organization then it will be made.
cubsinseriesthisyear: Will the Cubs be buyers or sellers when July 31 rolls around?
Hendry: Really we are in a situation where that really does not apply. We are playing much better but are still a long way behind the Cards. No sense to dump salary just to dump salary. If there's a deal or two to be made, that will help us next year, then OK. But to trade a bunch of prospects to try and make a run might not make sense a week from now if we're back more than we are now.
Kelly.Rennels: Are you planning on keeping catcher Joe Girardi through the trade deadline, and possibly even into the 2003 season?
Hendry: Yeah, we're certainly planning on keeping Joe the rest of the year. He handles the young pitchers very, very well. It's good to have a player like that to help Bruce Kimm. Joe and I will sit down at the end of the year and talk about 2003.
wassapi: Who do you think will win the Central?
Hendry: I don't have a crystal all but it would be tough to bet against the Cards. Besides Finley, I think they have another move or two in them. They have a terrific manager. So you'd have to make them the favorites. But a lot of things can still happen.
ljwendt: As the trading deadline approaches, are there any players that you consider to be untouchable? In other words, are there players that you won`t trade under any circumstances?
Hendry: There's a lot of people I don't have an appetite to trade -- starting with the right fielder. Corey Patterson has some great days ahead of him. We don't want to trade any of our young pitchers. We have the makings of a quality, quality staff down the road.
slammy42: Mr. Hendry what are your goals for the rest of this year?
Hendry: I think the goal we all have is to play the best possible baseball we can and accept what happens. Our record did not match our talent in the first half. We have a long way to go. We are just going to let Kimm run the club and move up the standings. We're getting a great effort. I hope to do something so we can add to the future of our club, which we think is bright with young players.
mcr72584: Will you keep Kimm for next season?
Hendry: There won't be any decisions made on Bruce's status for next year until after this year. I told him he would have every opportunity to manage the ball club. I also told him should not talk to anyone else while he is managing. I will make that decision after the season is over.
bluetears: How long do Cubs fans have to wait for the organization to come to grips with Todd Hundley's continued poor performance? When do we cut our losses?
Hendry: Over the last couple months Todd has shown some signs of playing much better. He's catching much better in the second half. He has a good relationship with Bruce. We will evaluate him like everyone else. I hope he can start playing like the Todd Hundley he used to be. He will certainly be with us now. Hopefully he'll get the bat going up to the standards we all expect and he expects of himself.
Cubs2003: You have to be pleased with the progress Matt Bruback has made this year. What`s his outlook longer term?
Hendry: We're very pleased. He's having a breakout season in Double-A. Onberi has some plans of getting him some Triple-A time. We signed him four years ago as a prospect. He's starting to come into his own and looks like he has a bright future.
a1cubs: What are our chances of seeing the kids brought up for the remaining of the season?
Hendry: I think in time we will bring people up when we feel they are ready. Bruce had a good handle on the Iowa club. We are pleased with the progress of Hee Sop Choi -- you will see him later in the season as well as Bobby Hill. But no immediate plans for this week or next.
WAUKEE: I love seeing the young pitching rotation. What is the possibility for us to get another left-handed guy in the bullpen? Maybe trade Bere for a lefty.
Hendry: We're certainly always in the search for more left-handed pitching. Steve Smythe from Iowa -- hopefully you will see him up here this year. He could start or relieve. To trade for a lefty to plug in is very difficult. We will either address it in the offseason with Steve or look for more left-handers from outside.
Maggnus: Jim, can you please get rid of Alfonseca? There are teams that will take him, Flash can handle the closer role.
Hendry: To be honest I don't really have an desire to get rid of Alfonseca. He's done a very fine job for us. He's only had a couple real bad days. His history shows the closer you are to being in the pennant race, the better he does. We have his contractual rights for next season. It's hard to get good closers. We felt fortunate to get him. Antonio is doing a solid job and he'll do better and better as our team performs better.
SouthernIvy: Would you agree that one of the team`s chief concerns would be attaining a lead-off hitter? I know Bellhorn has done a great job but we all know he would be better suited elsewhere in the lineup.
Hendry: Right now he's doing an exceptional job as lead-off hitter. It will be something we continue to evaluate. We think Hill is a potential lead-off hitter too. Patterson could too. It will play itself out. But we're certainly encouraged by the way Bellhorn's swinging the bat and his ability to get on base.
tcatt11: So, level with us. Are the Cubs mailing it is for the rest of the season?
Hendry: I can tell you there isn't anybody that works here in the office or dugout interested in mailing it in. The players are battling hard every day, there's a manager in Kimm battling to keep his job. That's the farthest thing from my mind. A fire sale has never been discussed here. I think the players will give us a great effort the rest of the way.
Moderator: Thanks for joining us today everyone!