BRADENTON, Fla. (93-7 The Fan) – Pirates hitting coach Jay Bell hopes to encourage the team as they get ready for another season and remind players that it’s not always just about hitting a home run.

He says he’s trying to get players not to overthink their approach at the plate.

“Hopefully that message is coming through loud and clear,” he said. “It’s a basic message. One of the things that I try to encourage them to do is to go out and be themselves; make sure that they groove their stance and their swing, and if it wasn’t something that they felt real comfortable with, they can change it.

“At some point, if I need to, I can break down a swing. That’s not a problem at all, but the problem is that you don’t want to be thinking about that during the course of your at-bats. You want to think about, ‘How can I beat this guy mentally?’ It’s not about thinking about mechanics. It’s about thinking through the process, and having an approach, and playing, and trying to execute that.”

Bell also says he hopes to pass down what he’s been taught to the team.

“Everything that I know I’ve plagiarized. Somebody has given it to me. You call it plagiarism, you call it passing on a legacy,” Bell said. “I share those things on a consistent basis with those players that I teach.

“I have a couple different aspects of my game that I get to utilize with the players,” Bell said. “Hopefully what they’ll understand is that as much fun as hitting a home run is, some of the little things that go into the game are extremely important as well.”

Bell also says he’s had a good time working with shortstop Clint Barmes.

“He’s one of the guys I’ve really enjoyed being with,” Bell said. “One of the things that I love about Clint Barmes is he takes a lot of pride in his offense- had a tough year offensively last year, but takes a lot of pride in it. He understands that his primary objective is to play good defense. One of the things that I promised the pitching staff and Ray [Searage] was the fact that every chance I get, I’m going to try to encourage these guys to take a lot of pride in their defense. It’s my job to teach them offense as best I can… timely hitting, pitching, and defense is what this game is all about.”

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