By Michael YEGHIAYAN
Crescenta Valley High School alumnus Trevor Bell was named to the Cincinnati Reds’ Opening Day roster as a reliever. A rash of early season injuries opened a roster spot in the team’s bullpen, giving Bell an opportunity to solidify his place on a team that hopes to make a deep postseason run.
The 27-year-old right-hander broke camp with the team after a strong spring training performance, where he allowed only one run over 8.2 innings pitched and struck out 11 batters.
As a former supplemental first round pick, selected 37th overall out of high school by the Los Angeles Angels, Bell was waived in 2013 after mixed results with the Angels. He was eventually signed to a minor league contract by the Reds and was converted to a full-time reliever in Cincinnati’s system. He pitched well to finish the 2013 season, accumulating a 1.80 ERA in 35 innings between the AA and AAA squads.
Bell stirred some controversy after being released by the Angels in 2013 when he posted a tweet leveled at manager Mike Scioscia, claiming that the skipper was more responsible for the team’s mediocre performance than the players. After being favored to with the division last year, the Angels finished in a disappointing third place in the AL West – 18 games behind division winners Oakland and six games below .500.
Even with all of the injuries affecting the Cincinnati bullpen, the odds were stacked against Bell making the Opening Day roster. As a non-roster invitee to spring training, he was on neither the Reds’ 25- nor 40-man rosters. Players who are cut from a team’s 40-man roster must be placed on waivers or transferred to the 60-day disabled list.
The Reds opened the season with eight players on the disabled list, including five pitchers. The team’s hard throwing closer Aroldis Chapman was notably injured during a spring training game against the Kansas City Royals when he was struck by a line drive.
Bell will have his work cut out for him in order to hold on to his current roster spot with LHP Sean Marshall and RHP Jonathan Broxton expected to join Chapman on the active roster sometime in April.
Cincinnati will be looking to return to the playoffs this year after losing in the wild card playoff game against the Pittsburgh Pirates to end their 2013 campaign. They face a difficult task in the competitive NL Central with the Cardinals, Pirates, and Brewers all vying for a post-season berth.