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Heath Bell

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Heath Bell
200px-Heath Bell San Diego Padres 01
Bell playing for the San Diego Padres.
Arizona Diamondbacks - No. 21
Pitcher
Born: September 29, 1977 (1977-09-29) (age 39)
Oceanside, California
Bats: Right Throws: Right
Professional debut
August 24, 2004 for the New York Mets
Career information
High school: Tustin HS
(Tustin, California)
College: Rancho Santiago College
(Santa Ana, California)
MLB Draft: 1997/ Round: 64 / Pick: 1583rd
by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays
Signed: did not sign with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.
Signed June 16, 1998 by the New York Mets
Teams
Career highlights and awards
  • none

Heath Justin Bell (born September 29, 1977) is an American professional baseball pitcher who plays for the Arizona Diamondbacks of the MLB. After inheriting the Padres closer role from Trevor Hoffman in 2009, Bell has been named a three-time All-Star and has been awarded with the Rolaids Relief Man Award twice and has also won the DHL Delivery Man of the Year Award and The Sporting News Reliever of the Year Award. From 2010–2011, he successfully converted 41 straight save opportunities, the fourth longest streak in MLB history.


ContentsEdit

[1]*1 Early years

edit Early yearsEdit

Bell attended Columbus Tustin Middle School and Tustin High School in Tustin, California, which are about 50 miles from his birthplace in Oceanside and 90 miles from his current job in San Diego. He lettered in football, basketball, and baseball.

He also took drama during his sophomore year, appearing as Fred in the play Noises Off.

edit Junior college yearsEdit

Bell attended Santiago Canyon College where he was named a freshman All-American in 1997.[1][2]

edit Pro careerEdit

edit Initial yearsEdit

He was selected by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in the 69th round of the 1997 amateur draft but did not begin his professional career until 1998, when he signed with the New York Mets as an undrafted free agent.

After toiling in the Mets minor league system for eight seasons, Bell made his major league debut on August 24, 2004 pitching two scoreless innings with three strikeouts against his current club, the Padres. The righty spent the next two seasons shuttling between the Mets and their Triple-A affiliate Norfolk, mainly filling in as an injury replacement. Bell has been reported to have negative feelings towards the Mets organization because he believes he was not given the opportunities he deserved. Bell said coaches in the Mets' minor leagues told him his best opportunity to succeed was to leave the organization as other people did not believe in him.[2]

edit San Diego PadresEdit

On November 15, 2006, Bell was traded to San Diego, along with pitcher Royce Ring, for outfielder Ben Johnson and relief pitcher Jon Adkins.[3] He was part of the Padres bullpen, where he replaced Scott Linebrink as the 8th inning setup man before Trevor Hoffman closed games.[4] In 2009, Hoffman signed with the Milwaukee Brewers and Bell was promoted to closer. Bell sprints from the bullpen[5] and into a save situation accompanied by the song “Blow Me Away” by Breaking Benjamin.[6] Bell's save situations are referred to by fans as "Bell's Hell", a play on Hoffman's famous "Hell's Bells".[7]

In 2009, Bell was named MLB Delivery Man of the Month in April after converting all eight of his save opportunities in 8 23 scoreless innings of work while striking out nine batters.[8] He was named to the National League (NL) All-Star Team on July 5. He, along with teammate Adrian Gonzalez, represented the Padres at the 2009 MLB All-Star Game in St. Louis on July 14. Bell came on in the 8th inning and gave up a triple to Curtis Granderson followed by a sacrifice fly to Adam Jones to make the score 4–3 in the American League's favor; Bell was the losing pitcher in the game. Bell ended the 2009 season leading the National League in saves with 42 in his first year as a full-time closer. He won the NL Rolaids Relief Man Award[9]

In 2010, Bell was named to his second consecutive NL All-Star team in July. Starting May 29, he converted 34 consecutive saves to end the season, the longest streak by a Padres since Hoffman. Bell collected saves on a season-high four consecutive days from August 10–13. For the year, Bell had a career-high 47 saves, which ranked second in MLB and was second in team history behind Hoffman's 53 in 1998. Bell's .940 save percentage (47 of 50) led all of MLB. He did not allow any of his nine inherited runners to score, and he had six saves of more than one inning pitched. Bell won the DHL Delivery Man of the Year Award, The Sporting News NL Reliever of the Year Award, and the NL Rolaids Relief Man Award.[10][11][12]

Bell will be the highest paid Padre in 2011 at $7.5 million salary and will be eligible for free agency at the end of the season.[13] He converted his first seven save opportunities of 2011, which tied him with Hoffman for the Padres club record of 41 consecutive successful save conversions. The streak also tied him with Hoffman and Rod Beck for fourth longest in MLB history.[14] Bell blew his next save opportunity, a 3–0 lead, after he opened the ninth inning walking the first two batters, and third baseman Chase Headley made a two-out, two-run throwing error to tie the game.[15] On May 14, Bell recorded his 100th career save in a 9–7 win over the Colorado Rockies.[16] Bell was selected to his third consecutive All-Star game. Entering the game in the eight inning, Bell sprinted from the bullpen and did a slide in front of the pitcher's mound, taking out a chunk of the infield grass and leaving grass stains on his pants. "I wanted the fans to have fun with this," said Bell.[17][18][5] With the team 12 games under .500 coming out of the All-Star break, general manager Jed Hoyer said the Padres would pursue a long-term contract with Bell if they did not get a desirable trade offer for him.[19][20]

edit Scouting reportEdit

[2][3] Generally a power pitcher, Bell has averaged nearly a full strikeout per inning but also proved to be hittable in his 2005 sophomore season allowing 10.8 hits per nine innings and a very high 5.59 earned run average. Bell has a 94–98 mph fastball, usually sitting between 95 and 96. He also has an 11–5 curveball in the low 80s.[21]

edit Personal informationEdit

Bell is married to Nicole, and they have four children—Jasmyne, Jordyn, Reece, and Rhett.[22] They reside in San Diego, California.[13] Bell's cousin is actor and musician Drake Bell. Former basketball player Erik Meek is also his cousin.[23]

Bell joined the Hope For Leadership Foundation, a Christian-based movement that promotes sports and civic programs for inner-city kids.[13]

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