Cards coach Bell to manage in Dominican Winter League
Assistant hitting coach wants to better relate to players from Latin America
ST. LOUIS -- After years of expressing interest in coaching in the Dominican Winter League, Cardinals assistant hitting coach David Bell found a fit as the 2014 manager for the Leones del Escogido club, which plays its home games in the capitol of Santo Domingo and is run by general manager Moises Alou.
Bell committed to the managerial opportunity a couple months ago, he confirmed on Thursday. He will, however, be a late arrival. Pitchers and catchers open camp at the Dominican facility next week, and the season starts on Oct. 16, which falls during the League Championship Series.
"I'm hoping to be two weeks late," Bell said.
Bell said his interest in managing a winter ball team grew out of his desire to learn how to better communicate with and relate to players from Latin America. He hopes to pick up some Spanish during his three months in the Dominican Republic, and this will also add another line of managerial experience to his resume.
"There are so many players from that country, and managing in the Minor Leagues I had a lot of interaction with those guys," Bell said. "Just to understand the culture as well as I can and make an effort with the language, it's something that I see as important and something I'd like to do."
A third generation Major League player, Bell began his coaching career as a Double-A manager in the Reds' system from 2009-2011. He managed Cincinnati's Triple-A affiliate in 2012 before accepting a Major League coaching position with the Cubs a year later. He is nearing the end of his first season working alongside Cardinals hitting coach John Mabry. Bell's father, Buddy, was a Major League manager in Detroit, Colorado and Kansas City.
"When I stopped playing, [managing] was something I thought I might like to do, and I got an opportunity to do it at kind of a higher level to start with in Double-A with the Reds," Bell said. "I loved almost everything about it. I had so many opportunities to make a difference in the young players' career. The managing, I really enjoyed."
Bell, whose only winter ball experience as a player came in Venezuela, will be relocating his wife and two young children to the Dominican Republic for the offseason. This will be his first visit to the Caribbean country.
This managerial opportunity would not preclude Bell from returning to the Cardinals next season if the organization chooses to renew his contract.
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