Coats, who is scheduled to wed his longtime fiancé Saturday, spoke to us recently on his tenure in Venezuela.
Was this your first time going to one of the Winter League's?
Yeah, first time.
What made you decide to play there?
I went down to get some more at-bats and just to get more playing time overall. It was good baseball down there because it was only a 60-game season, so every game counts and you have to play with so much intensity. That's what I liked about it. It's a huge thing. They have a real big fan base and big crowds come out every night. There's so much of an intensity level and I'm just glad I got to experience it.
How many friends and new fans did you pick up while you were there?
I made a lot of friends and got to know some people. Even the players, we clicked right off the bat. I had a good time.
What impressed you the most about the pitching you saw?
You didn't have too many guys throwing 95, but all of them threw between 90 or 92. There were a lot of veteran guys who'd been around and threw a lot of off-speed stuff. They pitched you backward, which is something I needed. I think it's kind of like Triple-A ball. When you get a fastball to hit, you better hit it because you're not going to get many more of them.
Average-wise, was there anything in particular that led to some of your struggles in Venezuela?
Nah, I just wasn't getting my singles down. I was driving in the runs and producing when it counted, but my average just wasn't showing.
When we talked in September, right around the time you were brought up to Chicago, it seemed to me as though you kind of implied your best shot of making the big league club would always be as a utility guy. Am I reading too much into that or is that really your train of thought?
No, I just feel that the more positions I play, the more it's going to help out. I'm thankful that I can play those positions and it's what I'm working toward. It's not in my hands whether they need a player like that; I'm just glad I can play a couple of positions and help the team out.
Buck Coats was one of 10 players from the Cubs' organization to participate in the Venezuelan Winter League this past fall, though his stay was a bit of a short-lived one. Coats appeared in just 31 games and batted .211 with three home runs and 18 RBIs in 95 at-bats.
INF/OF discusses his stint in Venezuela.