The Bell question

Josh Bell remains out of the lineup tonight against a right-hander, which has become a sore subject with fans who wonder why a prospect is buried on the bench.

If he’s here, use him. Otherwise, he’s better served playing every day at Triple-A Norfolk.

I asked interim manager Juan Samuel about the thought process behind the decisions to start or sit Bell, understanding that the club might be showcasing Miguel Tejada, and the current roster includes left-handed hitters Felix Pie, Luke Scott and Corey Patterson (who is available tonight.)

“Tejada was signed to be the third baseman for this ballclub, and Tejada likes to play,” Samuel said. “The times that we’ve been able to have Tejada out of the lineup or DH, we have to talk to him. He earned that right with all he’s done in the game. We are taking that into consideration, that Tejada’s the third baseman, he’s going to play. And the times that we feel like we might need to get him at DH and had Josh Bell in there, that’s what we’ve done. But Tejada has earned the right to play.”

Don’t shoot the messenger.

Also, Samuel was asked if he’s disappointed that his young starting pitchers have been so inconsistent.

“These guys are still the future of this organization and we are counting on those guys,” he replied. “Yes, they’re going to have their ups and downs, as every young starter [does]. If you go look back at some of the great ones with other clubs, the first couple years they have struggled. It’s no different with these guys.

“It’s probably magnified here because of our situation with our ballclub and organization. But you’ve seen a lot of the good ones, and some of them are Hall of Famers, the first couple of years they struggled.”

Another subject change: Whether to keep Alfredo Simon as closer once Michael Gonzalez is activated.

“That’s the decision that we make right now when Gonzalez gets here, to get him some work and see how he’s come along, and if we feel that at some point he’s ready to step into the role, then we might have to throw him there,” Samuel said. “But right now, we just would like to see him get his feet wet and see how he contributes.”

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