Heath Bell thankful for ‘fresh start’ with D-backs

Jun 8, 2013, 3:34 PM | Updated: 5:27 pm

LISTEN: Heath Bell, D-backs' closer

Heath Bell has a new lease on life as a member of the Arizona Diamondbacks, and he has general manager Kevin Towers to thank for his resurgence.

Towers, who had a relationship with Bell going back to their days in San Diego, took a chance on the veteran hurler after he suffered a trying season in Miami.

While Bell’s career in Arizona got off to a rocky start, the 35-year-old has settled into the interim closer role quite comfortably in recent weeks.

Bell has posted a 3.28 ERA with 11 saves and 29 strikeouts in 24.2 innings pitched this season, a stark contrast from the 5.09 ERA and eight blown saves he suffered last year with the Marlins.

“It was a fresh start,” Bell told Arizona Sports 620’s Doug & Wolf Friday. “Kevin Towers blessed me with a fresh start in San Diego from New York and he’s blessed me with a fresh start out here in Arizona from Miami. He just said, ‘Hey come do, what you need to do and you’ll be fine.’

“I was just filling in and doing my thing and [closer J.J. Putz] unfortunately got hurt but he should be back in 2-3 weeks and we’re going to go from there.”

While Bell has filled in admirably for the injured Putz, the right-hander said he has no problem moving back to a set-up role, or answering any call from the bullpen.

“I am perfectly fine,” Bell stated. “Kevin Towers and Gibby talked to me this winter and I was perfectly fine to do whatever they need me to do. [Putz] is our closer. I don’t care if I have 20-some odd saves by the time he comes back, he’s still our closer. If they need me to close a game, they need me seventh inning, sixth inning, mop-up, that’s perfectly fine because I want to win.”

Bell credits his D-backs’ coaches for helping him get back on track after a mentally tough 2012 campaign, in which he felt he was constantly second guessed in Miami.

“It was just that confidence that coaches gave me and not second guessing me,” Bell said.

The D-backs’ reliever said he was particularly miffed when he found out he had lost his role as Marlins closer by reading in at the paper while at Walt Disney World. When he was finally told of the team’s decision, Bell said he questioned the way the matter was handled.

“The [Marlins] pitching coach just kind of stared me down,” Bell explained. “He told me exactly what I read and I go, ‘Why couldn’t you tell me this’ and he goes, ‘Well you seemed upset’ and I’m like, ‘But I am a grown man. I’m upset we lost the game. I am having a tough year.’

“I just couldn’t win. I literally had to strike everybody out otherwise it wasn’t good enough, and here Gibby, as long as I get the job done, he don’t really care.”

Arizona Diamondbacks

Arizona Diamondbacks' Josh Rojas is safe at second base as Washington Nationals shortstop CJ Abrams...

Associated Press

Diamondbacks rally against Nationals’ beleaguered bullpen in 10-5 win

The Arizona Diamondbacks rallied against Washington's beleaguered bullpen to beat the Nationals 10-5 on Tuesday night.

22 hours ago

Emmanuel Rivera #15 of the Arizona Diamondbacks hits a single against the Miami Marlins during the ...

Alex Weiner

D-backs’ Emmanuel Rivera building role after challenge to prove himself

Emmanuel Rivera started the year in Reno with something to prove and has been a consistent threat in the D-backs' lineup since coming back.

2 days ago

Gabriel Moreno #14 of the Arizona Diamondbacks gets ready in the batters box against the Milwaukee ...

Alex Weiner

D-backs catcher Gabriel Moreno learning on the job, Carson Kelly nears return

D-backs catchers Gabriel Moreno and Jose Herrera have held down the fort with Carson Kelly on the 60-day injured list.

2 days ago

Eddie Rosario #8 of the Atlanta Braves hits a grand slam against the Arizona Diamondbacks during th...

Arizona Sports

D-backs’ bullpen falters late in rubber match with Braves

Miguel Castro's blown save cost the Arizona Diamondbacks a series victory against the Atlanta Braves at Chase Field.

3 days ago

Starting pitcher Merrill Kelly #29 of the Arizona Diamondbacks is removed by manager Torey Lovullo ...

Alex Weiner

Dark 2021 season continues to motivate newly-extended Torey Lovullo, D-backs

Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo said after agreeing to an extension he learned from 2021 and uses that season as a motivator.

2 days ago

Manager Torey Lovullo #17 of the Arizona Diamondbacks talks with home plate umpire Lance Barksdale ...

Arizona Sports

D-backs manager Torey Lovullo at peace with 1-year extensions

Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo said he is out to prove himself every year, even if he would love to stay with Arizona long term.

3 days ago

Heath Bell thankful for ‘fresh start’ with D-backs