President of baseball operations Andy MacPhail intended to activate Felix Pie from the disabled list as Luke Scott’s replacement on the 25-man roster, but he received feedback that suggested Pie needed a little more time in the outfield and at the plate.
Welcome to the majors, Josh Bell.
“Once (Pie) gets here, he’s going to get thrown into the lineup and we need to get him to where he can be ready to hit and contribute right from the start,” MacPhail said. “He really didn’t have much of a spring training. I think he had 27 at-bats going into last night’s game (at Double-A Bowie), so there was some concern that he didn’t really have the at-bats underneath him for a foundation.
“We started to look at what our options might be between the time that we’re likely to activate him, which might be during the Detroit series, and the games that come in between. We wanted a guy who was on the 40-man and who we could option back and forth. In essence, you’re dealing with primarily losing your DH, so you could just go down and reach for any bat you wanted. Josh had two home runs the other day, one being a grand slam, and was swinging the bat pretty well. It seemed like the natural thing to do.
“We tried to explain to Josh, ‘Don’t buy a house here yet. This isn’t necessarily going to be a permanent assignment, because Felix is not that far behind you.’”
MacPhail said the move has nothing to do with a pending trade. He said nothing is on the horizon, though he’s had discussions with various officials from other teams. And Miguel Tejada isn’t moving to shortstop.
“There’s nothing that’s right around the corner,” MacPhail said.
“Right now, we are just looking at filling Luke Scott’s DH spot.”
Asked if Bell could force his way into a more regular role with the team, MacPhail replied, “Stranger things have happened. I don’t think we’d send him home if he had four home runs in four days. I think I would go home before that. You can always make room. But in fairness, that’s not the likeliest scenario. We really felt like he needed the full year at Triple-A, and that would be him progressing at a pretty rapid clip. He’s a young man who still needs a lot of minor league experience.”
MacPhail will let interim manager Juan Samuel decide how much Bell plays, but he added, “I don’t think we brought him up here just to completely sit for four days and watch the action, so I would hope Juan would get him in there at least a couple of times.”
Asked how long Scott could be sidelined with a strained hamstring, MacPhail replied, “Those things are going to be what they’re going to be. Right now, we have to expect at least two weeks. These things have a history of leaking out a little longer than that. Hopefully, the sooner, the better.
“As we all know, Luke is hot and cold. When he’s hot, you hate to see him out of the lineup. He’s swinging the bat well right now. The timing isn’t great.”