Q&A: Buck Coats

Buck Coats came into the year knowing he needed to acclimate himself to the outfield. Six months later, the 24-year-old Fort Benning, Ga., native is with the Cubs as a September call-up.

Coats hit .282 with seven home runs, 21 doubles and 51 RBIs in 124 games in his first Triple-A season in 2006. He was recalled from Iowa in late August and sent back to the team for the remainder of the regular season before re-joining the major league squad during the first week of September.

Inside The Ivy: The last time we visited with you, you were still getting your feet wet in the outfield. Now that you're with the big league team this September, what role do you see yourself filling?

Buck Coats: I'm not really sure. Right now, I see myself more as a late-inning pinch-hitter, or pinch-runner. Whatever I can do to help the guys out and help them win some games is what I'll do, even if it's just on defense.

Inside The Ivy: Was it a surprise when you got word last month that you were heading up for your big league debut?

Buck Coats: It's always a surprise. I was very excited to be going back up. To come up here and experience the game at this level, it took me a few games to get over it. Now I'm a little more comfortable when I get on the field. The first time (Aug. 22), I was in shock. The second time (Sept. 3), I had no idea it was coming. They called me into the office and told me I was going up. We had a day game that day and they said I had to catch a flight in an hour and a half.

Inside The Ivy: Has any of your family made it up to Chicago yet?

Buck Coats: Not yet. They're very excited and happy for me, though.

Inside The Ivy: When Jacque Jones had the tear duct a few days ago, did they ever talk to you about making some starts in right?

Buck Coats: No, no one said anything. I'm still not expecting much. I'm just happy to be here and will help these guys out any way I can.

Inside The Ivy: Going into Wrigley Field for the first time, what went through your mind?

Buck Coats: My first thought was just, ‘Wow.' There's a lot of reality whenever you step onto the field because that was the first time I'd ever stepped into Wrigley. It looks gigantic on TV. The whole place was huge. When you step onto the field, it's a lot smaller and you realize it's just a regular baseball field.

Inside The Ivy: How lost were you when you got to Chicago?

Buck Coats: I had no idea where anything was. I'm not from a big city and this was really the first big city I'd ever played in. It's different, I'll tell you that much.

Inside The Ivy: What are your thoughts on the year you've had between here and Triple-A?

Buck Coats: I've tried to keep the same stance throughout the whole year and tried to stay away from changing too much. My main goal this year was to stay consistent. I didn't want to have the big up's and down's, which you're going to have anyway. But I tried to stay away from the big 0-fer's and tried to stay even-keel.

Inside The Ivy: I think you've said before that moving to the outfield took a lot of pressure off of you.

Buck Coats: It did. I started playing more infield regularly, though, because that's what I need. If I'm going to be a type of utility player, you have to play different positions and still keep your bat.

Inside The Ivy: Going up through the farm system with Ryan Theriot as you did, what are your thoughts on your teammate and longtime roommate?

Buck Coats: I hope the best for him. He's playing good right now and I hope he keeps it up. He's a hard player with a big heart and wants to win. He has that fighting attitude and doesn't give up. I hope the best for him and hope everything works out for him.

Inside The Ivy: How much have the veterans like Jacque welcomed you?

Buck Coats: The guys on this team are great – the staff and all the players. They congratulated me when I came up here and talked to me about some things I needed to expect and be ready for. I'm glad it's like that up here.

Inside The Ivy: Has ‘Sarge' and any of the other coaches worked with you much on your hitting since you came up?

Buck Coats: I don't think I've been up here long enough. They haven't seen me much except for Spring Training. We have early work and I hit there. They give me a pointer or two here or there, just to try to make me a little better. I'll listen to them and try to do what they tell me.

Inside The Ivy: We heard you're getting married this off-season.

Buck Coats: Yeah, I'm getting married November 4. We're having the ceremony back in Georgia.


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