Showalter will let Bell play through struggles

Showalter will let Bell play through struggles

CLEVELAND -- Struggling rookie Josh Bell said he's no longer overanxious at the plate, but admits that most of his hitting problems are mental.

"I definitely have doubted myself a little bit," said Bell, who is 3-for-20 with 11 strikeouts since his second callup following July 29's Miguel Tejada trade. "I'm not where I want to be, but I've definitely made strides towards it."

Bell was on the field early Wednesday afternoon with hitting coach Terry Crowley for some early extra hitting work -- along with several other O's -- and said he was working on some "minor tweaks" to better attack the inside pitch.

Orioles manager Buck Showalter gave Bell most of Tuesday's game off. He entered as a defensive replacement in the ninth -- with the expectation that he would likely start Wednesday and Thursday. While Bell's .167 batting average leaves much to be desired, Showalter believes the 23-year-old pressing at the plate isn't necessarily a bad thing.

"[You've] got to have some 'want to' there," Showalter said. "I'd a lot rather have that amount of caring than thinking 'sera, sera,' this is always going to be here. I want them to have a sense of urgency."

The Orioles' top position prospect, Bell hadn't played above Double-A until this season. His accelerated development prompted president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail to trade away Tejada and spend the final two months evaluating Bell's "Major League-readiness".

But Bell has struggled on both sides of the field, and the third baseman enters Wednesday with three errors in 15 games.

"There are some things that I know that I'm just not doing on the field," Bell said, citing cutting in front of shortstop Cesar Izturis in the ninth inning on Tuesday as one of those moments.

"I've been kind of standoffish, I think. [I've] just got to be more aggressive and trust myself. I'm putting things together as I go along."

Bell made good on his promise on Wednesday, making several key defensive plays and going 3-for-4. It marked just his second career multi-hit contest, raising his average to .212 in the process.

"“[Players] are not numb,"” said Showalter, who made it a point to laud Bell’'s performance in his postgame media session. "“They [have] got emotions. They'’d certainly like to get a return on what they are working on."