Bench coach Bell takes charge of spring routine
Cardinals' workout schedule in hands of former Major League infielder
ST. LOUIS -- It was around the start of the new year that David Bell sat down to begin his first task as manager Mike Matheny's new bench coach, a position Bell assumed upon Mike Aldrete's fall departure for Oakland. And after weeks of preparation, that work is about to go on display.
The Spring Training workout schedule has been Bell's to script, with Matheny giving that chore to his bench coach each year since assuming his managerial post. Having played for six different organizations and now with his third in a coaching capacity, Bell was given the freedom to piece together a program using the best elements from his different spring experiences.
In the end, though, Bell honed in on one model.
"The Spring Training I was part of here last year was one of the best, if not the best, I've seen," Bell said. "It was very efficient. Of course, I looked and really evaluated to see if there is anything that could be changed. But in the end, it's going to be very similar to what they've done here in the past."
Bell noted that the biggest change he's made is merely in how the schedule is presented. He created a new template to display each day's drills so that players know where they are supposed to be and what they are to be doing at any given time.
But other than tightening up time frames to reduce periods of inactivity, Bell doesn't expect observers or participants of camp to notice anything different about the daily routines.
As for the rest of the duties that come with his new role, those will become more pronounced in the coming weeks. After tenures as a Minor League manager (Reds), third-base coach (Cubs) and assistant hitting coach (Cardinals), Bell welcomes his new responsibility of being Matheny's right-hand man. He'll also be the liaison for the club's instant replay system.
"I'm really looking forward to it, probably more than any job or any challenge I've ever had," Bell said. "I feel like there is nowhere else I'd rather be than in this role at this time, working with Mike and his staff and the front office. The role itself is one I feel like I have been preparing for for a long time. I think it's a real good fit and that I'll be able to contribute a lot."
Bell, 42, comes from a notable baseball lineage. He was a third-generation Major League player, and he watched his father, Buddy, establish himself as a big league manager.
"I believe David brings a different eye," Matheny said. "He's been around the game so long and sees things very similar to how many of us do. ... Not that he wasn't around last year ... but his role last year, I don't know if he felt like he could put as much input, even though he was encouraged to. He's going to be thrust into it now where we need him to jump in and be more of a voice."