Notes: Bell's future not in question

Notes: Bell's future not in question

KANSAS CITY -- Never mind any rumors to the contrary. There is no reason to believe that Buddy Bell won't return as the Royals manager into 2007.

"There's no reason at all," said general manager Dayton Moore.

Bell is in his second season as manager after taking over for Tony Pena on May 31, 2005. At the time, he signed a contract through 2007.

"I hope I'm back," Bell said. "We haven't talked about it."

Nor has Moore discussed the matter with ownership, indicating the matter is a non-issue.

"I think Buddy Bell is the least of our problems right now," Moore said.

"Buddy is a great ambassador to the game, the players love him, the people surrounding the team love him, people in baseball love him."

Continually talking about the future, Bell seems convinced that the Royals will make rapid strides during the coming seasons.

Before Friday night's game against the Chicago White Sox, for example, he was discussing the late-season battles against playoff contenders.

"It's good for our players to see that kind of pitching, because hopefully soon, we're going to be dealing with it in a pennant race and we'll already have seen it," Bell said.

Because Moore is new as the general manager, some fans have assumed he'd bring in a manager from the Atlanta Braves organization. One popular name is Terry Pendleton, a Braves coach who played one season with the Royals.

"I've heard that for a year now. 'Wherever Dayton Moore goes, Terry Pendleton is going because Terry and Dayton have a good relationship,'" Moore said.

Another who fits that scenario, the bemused Moore noted, was former infielder Jeff Blauser, now a Minor League manager.

Forget all that.

"We're comfortable with the direction at this point in time," Moore said. "I have no reason to think that Buddy Bell should not be the right person to be leading this team."

And what's Bell think about heading in 2007?

"I'm excited about it," he said.

Good news: No tear was found in right fielder Reggie Sanders' left knee during surgery. No tendon repairs were necessary, although a cyst was removed, and Sanders' recovery time is expected to be from four to six weeks.

Sanders, who batted .246 and had 11 homers in 88 games, went on the disabled list a week ago.

The Royals also announced that left-handed pitcher Bobby Madritsch's request for unconditional release waivers was granted. Madritsch was claimed off waivers from the Seattle Mariners last winter but spent the entire season on the disabled list with arm problems.

Braun reports: Right-handed reliever Ryan Braun checked in from Triple-A Omaha for his first Major League fling.

He's the first of four or five September callups.

"His stuff is way above average," Bell said. "We can't wait to see him. We have had a lot of good reports."

Braun, 26, was 0-2 with three saves and a 2.16 ERA for Omaha after going 1-6 with 10 saves and a 2.21 ERA for Double-A Wichita. He had a total of 80 strikeouts in 65 2/3 innings.

For the Royals, he'll wear No. 47.

"I'd like to have any number here," Braun said. "Forty-seven is fine."

Minor details: One night after clinching the Texas League North second-half title, the Wichita Wranglers got six strong innings from left-hander Tyler Lumsden, who came from the White Sox in the Mike MacDougal trade. The Wranglers beat Tulsa, 3-1, in a preview of the first-round playoff.

The rookie Royals finished second in the Arizona League with a 19-9 record, a half-game behind the Angels. In the rookie Pioneer League, the Idaho Falls Chukars were eliminated from playoff contention.

Special fireworks: After Monday night's Labor Day game against the New York Yankees, the Royals will hold a special fireworks show. It's also Star Wars Night with Darth Vader, Chewbacca, Stormtroopers and Wicket the Ewok greeting fans as they arrive at Kauffman Stadium.

On Tuesday night, the first 20,000 fans at the Yankees game will receive a powder blue Royals T-shirt. Fans will be greeted by clowns from the Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus which will be in Kansas City from Wednesday through Sunday.

Up next: The Royals meet the White Sox in the second of three games at 6:10 p.m. CT on Saturday at Kauffman Stadium. Left-hander Odalis Perez (1-2, 5.73 ERA) will be matched against White Sox lefty Mark Buehrle (11-11, 4.71 ERA).

Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.