Prospect Pulse: Bell Sits Down with "ITD"

Josh Bell recently sat down with InsideTheDome to talk about his move to third base, recovering from his 2006 concussion, why he now likes third base more, and much more.

InsideTheDome: The last time that I saw you last year, you had just suffered a concussion and were suffering from the effects of post concussion syndrome. How long did it take before you were actually starting to feel good again?

Josh Bell: It happened around the first of August and it took me until mid-October or so before I didn't have any headaches when I did any kind of activity. I would feel fine, but as soon as I would start doing things, even simple things like swinging a golf club I would start to feel kind of dizzy and I would have to quit. Finally mid-October is when that stuff stopped happening. It was definitely very, very hard because you wanted to be out there with the playoffs and instructional league, but I just couldn't do anything.

InsideTheDome: Did you visit a doctor when that was going on and if so were they able to do anything for you, or was it something that you just had to kind of ride out?

Josh Bell: No, they couldn't do anything for me really. I just had to relax and let my brain heal itself. It is pretty much a bruise on your brain and you just have to let it heal. You can't put an ice pack on your brain. I just relaxed and tried to be stress free. I kind of liked that, I just sat around and watched TV all day and just relaxed.

InsideTheDome: Did the concussion have anything to do with the organization making the decision to move you to third base this year?

Josh Bell: No. They said they liked the way that I swing the bat and stuff. Catching was putting a lot of pressure on my offense. They just wanted to see if moving me to another position would open up my offense. I definitely like the move a lot. Honestly, the games are more stress free than they were when I was behind the plate. When I was behind the plate I had to worry about calling pitches and handling the pitchers. That aspect of it is so much easier.

InsideTheDome: Since they have moved you to third, is there a chance that you may be trying to play some other positions for instance first base or maybe some corner outfield positions?

Josh Bell: Who knows? It depends. Right now I like third base and I hope that they (The Blue Jays Organization) like it too. I feel really comfortable over there right now. Hopefully I can keep making plays and hopefully I can start swinging the bat here pretty soon and we will be okay.

InsideTheDome: I saw that you played third base a little in college. Have you really been able to acclimate yourself to the position again?

Josh Bell: I played it in little league, but of course everyone plays that position in little league. I would mainly catch a weekend series (at Auburn) and during the Tuesday game they (Auburn coaching staff) would say ‘hey, why don't you just play third base'. It was mainly against the lower level conference teams. I took some ground balls over there the day before (the game) . It wasn't anything big. Now, I'm playing third base every single day and I really enjoy it a lot.

InsideTheDome: In your time here in Lansing you have played what I consider to be maybe the two scariest positions on the field. I think that third base may actually be scarier than catching, would you agree?

Josh Bell: No, I would say catching. It's not necessarily scary, you just get beat up all of the time. You would just get foul balls off you all the time. I was watching Paul LoDuca the other night and his hand is behind him and all of a sudden the ball just hits him in the hand and there is nothing that you can do about that. Third base is so much easier for me. I'm not saying that I'm so much better, I'm just saying that it is so much easier for me. It's kid of like ‘Oh, I just have to catch this ground ball? That is easy'.

InsideTheDome: When did the Blue Jays tell you that you were putting the gear away and you would be moving over to third base for the season?

Josh Bell: Basically two weeks before spring training let out. It was right in the middle of spring training and then from then on I was getting early work in the morning, taking ground balls and all of that stuff.

InsideTheDome: You kind of struggled and really the whole team struggled early in the season offensively with the weather being so cold. Now that the weather is starting to warm up, do you feel that your bat is going to come around now or is there something mechanical that you are working on?

Josh Bell: No, I don't feel it's anything mechanical. I've just been really anxious and kind of over excited. I just have to calm myself down and make it simple. I went through this last year too. A lot of hitters go through this. During spring training, I felt really confident and the first game of the year I hit pretty good and hit a home run so I felt pretty good about myself. Then all of a sudden I went a couple of games without a hit and then all of a sudden you start thinking that it must be something mechanical. It wasn't anything mechanical at all, it was just bad luck. You hit the ball hard and you make outs. That is the hardest part mentally. I was getting kind of frustrated when I shouldn't have been. Right now I'm feeling really relaxed during batting practice and that is the first step. Hopefully from now on I will get better as I go.

InsideTheDome: Talk a little bit about your pitching staff and the job that they did when you guys were struggling a bit with the bats. They really stepped up big and limited the opportunities that opposing teams had.

Josh Bell: I can't say enough about the pitchers. They remind me a lot of our pitching staff from last year. All they did was throw strikes and give us a chance. They're not out there trying to throw 100 mph, they are staying within themselves around 85 to 88 and just letting their movement work. That's the main reason we have gotten off to this great start. They are just doing an awesome job out there.

InsideTheDome: Compare this year's team to last year's team and how you stack up. I know that a lot of you guys were here last year, but do you feel that this year's team may be better?

Josh Bell: I think that we had maybe a little bit more age wise last year. This years team though there is pretty much talent everywhere. We're pretty deep at every single position and everybody can do something phenomenal at each position. They can hit and they can field. Jonathan Diaz is one of the best infielders that I have played with. Chris Gutierrez has come back as well. The whole infield is just solid. Every body is just great defensively. We have a great defensive outfield. (Travis) Snider of course is only 19 years old, but he is playing way above his years right now. Every outfielder is making great jumps and catching the ball great. Of course this year's team is different than last years, but this year's team feels more like a complete team. I don't know if it is just chemistry or what it is. Last year and this year we won a lot of games at first. Both are different ball clubs, but we just figure out ways to win.

InsideTheDome: I know that it kind of feeds from Toronto down, but when you looked at the roster for Lansing this year, did it surprise you that you would be coming back here and really that so many of you would be coming back here this year?

Josh Bell: I figure that I would have been in Dunedin if I hadn't changed positions. I'm not really surprised by it. We have a lot of talent coming back and a lot of talent coming up too. It really is not a surprise that we are doing as well as we are.

InsideTheDome: You have a new manager here in Lansing this year. Is there any difference in the way Gary Cathcart and Ken Joyce manage a game?

Josh Bell: I guess they are both a like and both different you know? Both of them are very knowledgeable of the game. Kenny (Joyce) is more talkative and Cat (Gary Cathcart) is more laid back and just tells you exactly the way it is. Both of them are really good coaches and I really have enjoyed playing for them.

InsideTheDome: Last question Josh. What are your goals for this year?

Josh Bell: Honestly, the main goal is to just get better. Sometimes there are guys that are in front of you and that is really the only thing that you can control. Just look to get better every single day. You want to come to the ball park with the same intensity every day and that is the hardest part I think. If I can just do that, come to the ball park with the same intensity and wanting to get better, then I will be happy with whatever happens.


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