PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — During Spring Training, Josh Bell said he wanted to improve on his numbers and so far, even his skipper has run out of superlatives.
“It’s been fantastically fun to watch,” said Pirates Manager Clint Hurdle.
For a team that has been struggling with injuries, Josh Bell has been the antidote for fans.
“I like how he plays the game a lot,” said one young fan outside of PNC Park.
Bell is clinical about his success.
“The game is slowing kind of slowing down a little bit, so I’m trying to stay right here, stick with the attack plan for every pitcher and kind of sell out to it and focus on timing and go from there,” Bell said.
All the fans know is when Bell comes to bat, you don’t want to get caught at the concession stand or the bathroom.
“He’s hitting the cover off the ball!” Exclaimed a fan. “You never know, every time he comes up he could be hitting one out of the ballpark!”
His teammates in the clubhouse are loving it, too.
“Every time he goes up to hit, you want to focus in, you want to watch because something cool is going to happen,” said Pirates shortstop Kevin Newman.
While they’re enjoying it, they aren’t surprised.
“He’s making it look really easy up there,” said Pirates outfielder Brian Reynolds. “He’s hitting balls 700 feet and I get a good angle from on deck watching the ball. I’m enjoying it.”
The pitching staff certainly appreciates what Bell is doing.
“It couldn’t be any more fun,” said Steven Brault. “He’s an incredible person first and foremost, and seeing him have the success we all knew he could have is great to see. It’s fun to watch, he’s always doing something crazy.”
Fans have begun to make comparisons to former greats Barry Bonds and Willie Stargell, but he isn’t focusing on that.
“I try not to think too much about it,” Bell said. “It’s awesome to be in the same sentence as greats like that and hopefully there is more to come.”
Despite injuries, the Pirates are three games over .500 and in third place and in contention. Many people believe Bell is carrying the team on his back.
Pirate broadcaster and veteran Pirate Steve Blass says “Josh Bell alone is worth the price of admission.”