Rookie J. Bell not disappointed with demotion

Josh Bell moving down to Norfolk to make room for Chris Tillman

  • Orioles third baseman Josh Bell throws to first after making a diving stop but is unable to retire the A's Kevin Kouzmanoff. Bell was making his major league debut. He went 1-for-4 with a single in the Orioles' 8-1 home loss.
Orioles third baseman Josh Bell throws to first after making… (Lloyd Fox, Baltimore Sun )
July 09, 2010|By Dan Connolly, The Baltimore Sun

Arlington, Texas —

Josh Bell knew his first time in the major leagues wouldn't last long, so he harbors no disappointment that he didn't play much.

"I think the competitor in me, I want to just play," said Bell, who officially will be sent back to Triple-A Norfolk when Chris Tillman is activated to start Saturday's game. "But I have been having a blast being here and being in the big leagues. So I have no problem with sitting and waiting for my opportunities."

Bell started just four games — two at third base and two at designated hitter — since being promoted July 1 and immediately making his major-league debut. He had three hits, all singles in 14 at-bats.

"It is a good situation for me, regardless," Bell said. "Because if I am not playing, then I am watching and learning. And if I am playing, well, that's a great experience."

Bell, 23, said he paid close attention to current starting third baseman Miguel Tejada and the opposing third basemen to watch how they approach the position.

Interim manager Juan Samuel said he wished he would have gotten Bell more at-bats and more starts at third, but he was impressed with the rookie, whom the Orioles acquired last July from the Los Angeles Dodgers for George Sherrill.

"From what I have seen, I think he holds his own," Samuel said. "He can play some defense and we just wish we could have gotten him more at-bats to probably see a little bit more."

The problem, Samuel said, is that he had several players he needed get into the lineup to keep everyone fresh. That's why, ultimately, he thought it was best for Bell to go back down and play regularly at Norfolk.

"He is one of our prospects that this organization is going to count on and those guys have to play," Samuel said. "If we are not able to get time for him here, probably the best thing for him and the organization is to have him go down and play."

Although it was only two weeks, Bell said it was invaluable.

"I have always wanted to see what it was like to be here," Bell said. "I have seen it now and have seen what it takes to get here and stay here. And now it is just about fine-tuning everything and hopefully next time it will be for good."

$300,000 deal for Veloz

The Orioles have agreed to a $300,000 deal with 16-year-old third baseman Hector Veloz of the Dominican Republic, one of several six-figure agreements the Orioles have worked on during the most recent international signing period, according to a club source.

As of Friday, the paperwork in the Veloz negotiations wasn't completed, the source said. When it is, it'll be the largest signing bonus the franchise has ever given to a Dominican amateur, but not the most to an international amateur in franchise history.

The Orioles also have tentatively agreed to six-figure bonuses with at least two other Dominican players, but neither will exceed $175,000, the source said.

Veloz, a 6-foot-2, 190-pound right-handed hitter, was considered one of the better offensive amateurs available during the signing period. But, according to Baseball America, which first reported the signing, Veloz tested positive for the steroid stanozolol during a mid-May drug test now required by Major League Baseball of the top 40 Dominican prospects in each class.

As part of the program, he is not subject to a suspension now, but would be if he tests positive after signing. Stanozolol is the same steroid that former Oriole Rafael Palmeiro tested positive for in 2005.

Wieters back in lineup

Catcher Matt Wieters missed Thursday's game due to tightness in his right hamstring, which he said has bothered him throughout the Detroit series. He felt more tightness after the team arrived in Texas on Thursday morning and informed the team. He was in Friday's starting lineup.

"It wasn't something I couldn't play with," Wieters said. "But after another plane ride and getting in here late, we thought a day would probably be good for it and it feels good today."

Samuel said he'll be monitoring the injury closely, even though it seems to be minor.

"We told him we want to make sure if he feels anything at all … that he has to let us know," Samuel said. "We do not want to take any risks. We know how valuable he is to the organization. … We are going to be checking with him throughout the game to see how he is doing."

Around the horn

Left-handed pitcher Will Ohman has tied the franchise record for most appearances without a decision at 42. Mike Flanagan set the record when he was a reliever in 1992. … The Orioles promoted reliever Jose Diaz and first baseman Joe Mahoney to Double-A Bowie from Single-A Frederick on Friday. Left-handed pitcher Chris George was promoted to Triple-A Norfolk from Bowie while right-handed pitcher Josh Perrault was placed on Bowie's seven-day disabled list. … Left-handed pitcher Michael Gonzalez is continuing his rehab assignment at Bowie. He is expected back after the All-Star break.

dan.connolly@baltsun.com

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