It was difficult being without Mike Sweeney in our lineup for that long stretch when he had back problems this past year, so we're looking forward to having him back in '07.

Sweeney was missed more than words can express. We need him in the lineup consistently to put fear into opposing pitchers. We don't have too many guys who can do that at this point. Sweeney can knock the ball out of the park. We can count on him to hit 25-30 homers, and we missed that for most of the season. We did our best while he was out, but we couldn't wait to have him back.

He's absolutely one of the best hitters in the game. His numbers prove it. He hits around .300 every year and is consistently driving in guys. He's a great player and the anchor in our lineup.

The back injuries have probably been most frustrating for him. Back injuries affect you in all areas of the game, especially your swing. We're just hoping that he's physically ready to go next year.

Even though we haven't produced as a team as much as we'd like, Sweeney has always gone out there and given his all, even through all of the injuries. He's always around the team and always is there to pick our spirits up. Even if he's not on the field, he's our biggest supporter.

Sweeney is definitely the face of the Royals franchise. He has been around here, geez, I don't even know how many years. He's put up great numbers over the years, and everybody loves him.

He's also very involved in charitable endeavors around the area. He won the Players Choice Award in 2006 for being the most charitable player. He's a great guy and loves to give back to the community.

I think Sweeney and George Brett are the two guys who stand out as the faces of this franchise. They have always been a huge part of Kansas City and the Royals organization. He will go down as one of this franchise's all-time bests.

David DeJesus, who turns 27 in December, has become a steady performer in the Royals outfield during his three years in the big leagues. He has a lifetime .292 average and a career .362 on-base percentage.