Bell Moving Up In Reds System

CINCINNATI—David Bell is enthused about the move up the managing food chain from Double-A to Triple-A Louisville.

"I'm excited for a couple of reasons," he said. "I'll be in position to work with a lot of the same guys I worked with for the last two or three years. And it's a chance to work with guys who are one step from being contributors to the big league club."

Bell, a former big leaguer, spent the last three years managing at Double-A. He expects the talent level at Louisville to be good.

"I think it will be," he said. "When you combine the young players we have in the system with the players who because of all moves made with the major league team may be pushed back to us, we'll have a good mix of talent."

Bell is very familiar with two of the top prospects who figure to be at Louisville. Both first baseman Neftali Soto and outfielder Denis Phipps spent time with Bell at Carolina. Soto hit 31 home runs last year, the first Reds farmhand to go over 30 homers since Adam Dunn did it in 2001.

"He had a big year in a lot of ways," Bell said. "You see the offensive numbers with the home run total. It's really impressive because he missed a substantial part of the year. But he really improved defensively at first base. I think part of that is because he moved around in the past. He played third and caught, which will help him in the long run. But this year he settled at first. He really improved. He's capable of playing first in the majors right now."

Phipps had a breakout year, hitting a combined .346/.397/.527 at Carolina and Louisville.

"I've had him for parts of three years," Bell said. "He really struggled. But he kept at it and it just finally clicked. It was fun to watch. That's what the minor leagues are about. He can do everything. I think if he continues to build on what he did last year, you'll see him in the major league sooner than later."


• The Reds named Mark Riggins as their minor league pitching coordinator. He replaced Mack Jenkins, who was promoted to assistant pitching coach with the Reds. Riggins, 54, spent last season as pitching coach for the Cubs.

• The Reds signed lefthanders Ron Mahay and Clay Zavada to minor league deals with invites to spring training.