BRADENTON, Fla. — After finishing his first full season in the major leagues, Josh Bell went home. He wanted to clear his mind after playing in 159 games for the Pirates and couldn't think of a better way than to hit in the batting cage in his garage in Dallas.
Although the speed of the pitches has changed, Bell has hit from the same pitching machine for the past 15 years. This time was different, though. Bell, who led the Pirates with 90 RBIs as a rookie in 2017, wanted to go back to the place, and the process, that helped him reach the major leagues.
He reached some goals and fell short of others over the previous seven months, and each of those failures fueled him to reach greater heights. However, becoming the face of the Pirates franchise at 25 years old is not among them.
"In my mind, when I think Pirates I think [Francisco Cervelli], [Josh Harrison], J-Hay especially; David Freese being a World Series MVP — those are the names that pop into my head," Bell told DKPittsburghSports.com before the Pirates' 8-5 loss to the Orioles on Monday at LECOM Park. "But I try not to focus on being a face or that player.
"Does that necessarily help me on the field? No. It’s another thing that if I let it seep in, it just might be in the back of my head and just white noise."