Heath Bell heading to the WBC …
This just in …
– San Diego
relief pitcher Heath Bell is headed to the World Baseball Classic, a late
addition to a roster that has lost two closers to injuries the last two days.
Bell was pulled aside by
general manager Kevin Towers 10 minutes before the start of Monday’s Cactus
League game against Milwaukee
and was told a Team USA official had asked if he was willing to play.
“The only hesitation I had was if it was OK with [manager]
Bud Black and if it was OK with Bals (Padres pitching coach Darren Balsley). …
I wanted to know if they were OK with everything,” Bell said.
The Padres gave Bell, who has
inherited the job as closer from Trevor Hoffman, the OK to fly to Florida late Monday to join Team USA. Bell has been told that
he will pitch on Wednesday in a scrimmage.
On Sunday, Twins closer Joe Nathan pulled out of the World
Baseball Classic with what was described as shoulder discomfort. Then on
Monday, B.J. Ryan of the Blue Jays said that he was pulling out because he
wanted to remain in camp to work on his mechanics.
That opened the door for Bell, who indicated he always wanted to
represent his country. In fact, Bell
sent three different applications in just to get the point across that he was
indeed serious about playing.
“It’s like a 5-year-old on Christmas Eve, who can’t go to
bed because Santa Claus is coming tomorrow,” Bell said. “I’ve wanted to play for the US team, my
whole life wanted to represent our country in a sport.”