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Royals manager Bell takes medical leave of absence

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Kansas City Royals manager Buddy Bell is
taking a leave of absence to treat a growth discovered near his
left tonsil.

The Royals announced the move during the ninth inning of their
game against the Los Angeles Angels on Wednesday night, a game Bell
managed.

The 55-year-old Bell will seek a second opinion at the Mayo
Clinic in Arizona on Thursday at the direction of his doctor, who
found the growth during a routine examination Tuesday.

Bench coach Billy Doran will serve as interim manager.

While he hopes to return before the end of the season, Bell said
it was unlikely. He informed the team of his condition before
Wednesday night's game.

"That's always the toughest part. That's why I wanted to wait
until the end," Bell said. "I want to be with these guys. We've
made a lot of progress. I want to see it to the end. It seems like
every night we get a guy hurt."

Since taking over the Royals on May 31, 2005, Bell has posted a
101-163 record. Bell, who spent three seasons apiece with Detroit
and Colorado before coming to Kansas City, is 446-625 as a major
league manager.

"I know how tough Buddy is and I know there's no way in the
world he'd leave unless it was something," pitcher Joe Nelson
said. "He assured us it was nothing and he was going to be fine,
and I believe he's going to be fine. But at the same time,
thoughts, prayers. You're worried about your skipper."

Doran, who has never managed a major league team, entered his
first year as bench coach this season after being named Royals
first base and infielders coach on June 20, 2005. Doran hadn't
addressed the team yet, Nelson said Wednesday night, but he didn't
anticipate any major changes.

"Right now, our heads are with skip and hoping everything takes
care of itself and it's not a huge issue," said Nelson, who played
with Bell's son, Ricky, at Triple-A Omaha. "I'm definitely going
to be calling Ricky and getting updates, seeing what's going on."

The Royals (58-94) have 10 games left, against Minnesota and
Detroit, and will finish the season Oct. 1 in Detroit.