By Brandon HENSLEY
A former Falcon is revving up to play in The Motor City. Pitcher Trevor Bell signed with the Detroit Tigers this month, less than four months after being released by the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
It happened fast for Bell, who said Tigers’ assistant general manager Al Avila left a message for him on Nov. 12 saying the team was interested. Bell agreed to a minor league deal that week, and will be a non-roster invitee to the Tigers’ spring training in Lakewood, Fla., in February.
“[It] was kind of strange this early in free agency,” Bell, 26, said. “Usually they go after the top-tier guys, the veterans in free agency. Also, they just got done with the World Series. So it was nice that they called this early.”
The Tigers were the American League champions in 2012, but lost in the World Series to the San Francisco Giants.
Bell’s spring training invitation means he’s not guaranteed a big league spot, “So I have to work my butt off to make the team.”
That training starts now.
“As soon as Thanksgiving’s over, I’m pretty much full-blown into it,” he said. “Especially going into a new team; I’m going to train and make sure I have everything ready to go before I show up.”
In 2005, his senior season at CVHS, Bell hit .367 with eight home runs. As a pitcher, he had a 0.97 earned-run average and struck out 113 batters in 80 innings.
This past summer was the first one of Bell’s adult life where he had time off. The Angels drafted him out of high school, and Bell spent the last eight seasons in the Angels’ minor league system and up in the big leagues, both as a starter and reliever.
His first ever start as pitcher for the Angels was in 2009, and he recorded his first ever win in his second start.
But this past season was tough for Bell. He spent all of it in triple-A with the Salt Lake Bees and, with a strained elbow, didn’t put up impressive numbers. He was released in late July.
From 2009 to 2011, Bell was 4-8 with a 5.21 ERA as an Angel.
“I expected something different each time I went into spring training with [the Angels],” he said. “I felt last year what I did in spring training was good enough to make the team, and they felt different.
“The role they wanted me in wasn’t what I wanted as a baseball player. I think mentally I was sort of maybe done, as far as the Angels were concerned. So I wasn’t too surprised when it happened. I think really, truthfully, I was actually kind of happy.”
Bell said his elbow is healed now, and he’s excited to try and make the most of an opportunity outside of Southern California.
“There can be distractions living and playing at home,” he said. “[I’m excited] for the opportunity to be somewhere else, and see new fans and be in a different part of the country.”