PITTSBURGH -- Josh Bell was not off to a slow start to the season by any means, but he was still waiting for that feeling at the plate.It came amid snow flurries in the first inning on Wednesday night, when Bell smashed his first home run of the season halfway
PITTSBURGH -- Josh Bell was not off to a slow start to the season by any means, but he was still waiting for that feeling at the plate.
It came amid snow flurries in the first inning on Wednesday night, when Bell smashed his first home run of the season halfway up the batter's eye at PNC Park. The two-run shot off Twins right-hander Jake Odorizzi gave the Pirates an early two-run lead, but they wound up taking their first loss of the season, a 7-3 defeat.
The temperature at first pitch was 37 degrees with winds gusting toward left field. Snow came and went all day in Pittsburgh, keeping the Pirates inside for batting practice. With two outs and Josh Harrison on second base, Bell came to the plate and worked a 2-1 count. He turned on Odorizzi's 90.7-mph fastball and ripped it to straightaway center field.
"I was kind of sitting up and out," Bell said, "and it worked out."
According to Statcast™, Bell's homer came off his bat with an exit velocity of 113.7 mph and traveled a projected 432 feet. Statcast™ has only measured three harder-hit home runs by the Pirates, and all three were hit by Pedro Alvarez in 2015.
"I feel like I've been waiting for that since the start of spring," Bell said. "I finally clipped it the right way and got that ball flight that I wanted."
Bell, 25, is off to a strong start at the plate in his second full season with the Bucs. The switch-hitting slugger hit .255 with an .800 OPS, 26 home runs and 90 RBIs last year and finished third in the National League Rookie of the Year Award voting.
Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook and read his blog.