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March 3, 2011

Josh Bell likes feel of first base

It certainly wasn’t a tough sell when the Orioles asked young third baseman Josh Bell to move across the diamond and start getting some work in at first base this spring.

“Playing any other position, it doesn’t matter,” Bell said. “I just want to be in the lineup and hit, so whatever I have to do to make the team, whatever I have to do to contribute, that’s what I want to do.”

Bell, 24, who hasn’t played first base since entering pro ball, has been getting a crash course on the position from Orioles’ bench and infield coach Willie Randolph. Orioles manager Buck Showalter said that Bell could “potentially” be used at first more in Grapefruit League games. He played one inning there on Tuesday and handled his only chance.

“I was telling [first baseman Joe Mahoney] the other day that I’m more worried about the mental side of it because playing the position, making errors is all physical stuff that could happen anywhere,” Bell said. “But the mental part of it, not being in the cut-off spots, not being where you are supposed to be, is just something you can’t do.

“The first day was pretty much just going over everything, just getting me introduced to the footwork of getting back to the base. We just went over a lot of things. After that, it’s going to be early work here and putting pieces together.”

Asked whether he still considers himself a third baseman, Bell said: “Whatever they want me to be. I like first. It’s something new, it’s something to work towards. It’s exciting. But I like playing third, too.”

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Posted by Jeff Zrebiec at 8:58 AM | | Comments (9)


I really like the positive attitude Josh is taking. If he wants to make the club and have an impact in the future, he'll have to become more versitile. With Mark Reynolds playing either 3B or 1B (or even DH) for the next few years, Bell is going to have to be flexable. I really like his defense at 3B and he seems like a soild ballplayer. He just needs to develop more of a work ethic and learn how to consistantly hit for average.

Of Course we want to hear Bell saying he wants to make the team out of spring training. But in reality, unless he tears up with the bat, he's going back to Norfolk.

What is more realistic is for Bell to go to Norfolk and have a solid year with the bat and work on both 1st and 3rd defensively . I still think he's a solid prospect, even Cal struggled mightly at the plate when he first came up.

Right now Bell's probably the best power bat prspect in the O's system.

I would like to see what Josh Bell can do @ 1st Base. I think he's a talented fielder who needs an injection of self confidence. He certainly has the ability.

Also, Jeff I was watching the brief highlights of the Orioles/Phillies game yesterday and I noticed that Ryan Howard finally decided to get the bat off his shoulder and hit what should have been a home run. Since it was windy, it stayed in the park and gave Randy Winn a chance to catch. Sadly, he did not. My question is why can't Showalter and the rest of the decision makers let Henson play the whole game and see what he can do defensively. I really would have loved to have seen if Henson could have made that catch in the same situation!

Jeff Z's reply: They've played only four games so far so I assume Henson will get a little longer look. But the guys that the team believes to have a better shot at making the club are obviously going to play more. And I don't think team officials consider Henson right now in the running for an Opening day roster spot.

Increasing your versatility as a player is never bad. Bell apepars to be approaching it the right way, just work hard and try to make the team. I would love this as a long term option but I personally feel Bell has a long way to go.

I think Bell is one of those guys who you make force his way on the team with outstanding play opposed to an organizational need.

Buck may be willing to sacrifice some offensive prowless for solid defense at multiple positions but Bell looked overmatched last year at the plate.

Bell looks like a guy headed out of town with the first good trade offer. Just my two cents..

Unless she has braces, who doesn't like the feel of first base?

@ Mike

This is terrible, we're all trying to be serious here and you say something like this!

Unless she has braces, who doesn't like the feel of first base?

Posted by: Mike

Jeff Z's reply: I noticed it and chuckled and thought it was more humorous than offensive.

"He just needs to develop more of a work ethic"

Really? And what makes you think he doesn't have a great work ethic already?

“I just want to be in the lineup and hit so whatever I have to do to make the team, whatever I have to do to contribute, that’s what I want to do.”
Josh - I'm pretty sure the only thing you have to do to get in the lineup so you can hit is ...... HIT!

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About the bloggers
A Baltimore native, Dan Connolly has been covering sports for 14 years, and baseball and the Orioles for 10 seasons, including the past six with The Sun. His first year covering baseball on a daily basis was Cal Ripken Jr.'s final season as a player. It's believed that is just a coincidence.

Steve Gould is an assistant sports editor for The Sun, overseeing Orioles coverage. The Columbia native joined The Sun as a sports copy editor in 2006 after graduating from the University of Maryland.

Peter Schmuck has been covering baseball for a lot longer than Steve Gould has been on this earth. He is now a general sports columnist, but has been a beat writer covering three major league teams (the Dodgers, Angels and Orioles) and also spent a decade as the Sun's national baseball writer. If you want more of his insight on the Orioles and other sports issues, check out his personal blog -- The Schmuck Stops Here.

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