Orioles' Bell Will Have To Wait His Turn
BALTIMORE—If the Orioles had any temptation to rush top position prospect Josh Bell to the majors, they squashed it with the free agent signing of former shortstop Miguel Tejada.
Tejada will move to third base after signing a one-year, $6 million contract. Bell will move up to Triple-A Norfolk and wait his turn.
"The kind of deal that we struck here with Miguel, I don't know that I would anticipate making the commitment that we made to him and not have him play every day," president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail said. "If he's healthy, he's going to be out there because that's the way he's going to insist on it. We didn't get Miguel with the idea that this is just going to be a few months and then Bell's coming in. That's not at all what we're thinking."
Bell didn't figure to make the jump from Double-A to the majors. If the Orioles hadn't signed a free agent to play third base, they probably would have turned to in-house candidates Ty Wigginton or Scott Moore.
"I'm feeling good. I'm ready for the next level," Bell said during the team's annual FanFest at the Baltimore Convention Center. "Whenever that may be, I'm ready for it."
In the meantime, the 6-foot-3, 205-pound Bell has been working out hard since completing his stint in the Arizona Fall League, where he batted .319/.388/.516 with 10 doubles, two homers and 19 RBIs in 91 at-bats. He's been running until his legs are sore, "trying to get fit, get in shape," he said. "Just get after it."
The Orioles haven't approached Bell, who was the Dodgers' fourth-round pick in 2005 before coming over in the George Sherill trade last July, about ending his days as a switch-hitter and batting exclusively from the left side to compensate for his poor splits. And he's not ready to give up on it.
"I think once they see me in spring training, we'll go from there. But the short time they've seen me, they really couldn't make an evaluation," he said. "I'm coming off a bad year righthanded. I just never really felt comfortable. I know I can do it. It's just one of those things where I'll try my best to continue to be one."
• The Orioles invited six more players to spring training after releasing their initial list: catchers Luis Bernardo and Adam Donachie, second baseman Miguel Abreu, shortstop Blake Davis, third baseman Jonathan Tucker and outfielder Matt Angle.
• Righthander Dennis Sarfate was designated for assignment to make room for Tejada. Sarfate appeared in only 20 games with the Orioles last season, going 0-1, 5.09 ERA, because of a circulatory condition in his right hand.