Bell has right DNA to thrive as Cards' bench coach

Son of respected skipper fills in for manager Matheny on split-squad afternoon

Bell has right DNA to thrive as Cards' bench coach

JUPITER, Fla. -- With manager Mike Matheny accompanying half the club to Viera, Fla., for the road portion of Friday's split-squad day, bench coach David Bell slid into the manager's seat for the home game against the Mets. Given his own coaching climb and bloodlines, it's an undertaking that suited Bell well.

Bell's father, Buddy, managed parts of nine seasons in the Majors, making stops with the Tigers, Rockies and Royals. David Bell was a Major League player through most of that stretch before transitioning into his own career in coaching. He managed four seasons in the Reds' farm system, then joined his first Major League coaching staff in 2013.

Last year, Bell served as the Cardinals' assistant hitting coach, and upon Mike Aldrete's offseason departure, Bell was promoted to bench coach. That made him the natural fit to fill in during Matheny's day-long absence. But while Bell enjoyed the assignment on Friday, he was quick to downplay any interest he may have in pursuing a future permanent managerial gig.

"It's something I enjoyed in the Minor Leagues; I enjoyed it a whole lot," Bell said. "I'm so happy in this [bench coach] role that it's hard to see past it. I don't think there is any reason to see past it. It's a role that I'm very grateful to be in, and it takes everything I have. I feel like I can contribute a lot in this role. Really, beyond this, I haven't given it a whole lot of thought."

As Matheny's bench coach this season, Bell will serve as the manager's right-hand man, as far as offering suggestion for in-game decision making and being the liaison during instant replay reviews. He has also been instrumental in scripting the Cardinals' Spring Training workouts, a challenging task given the number of players involved.

The change in roles also offers Bell a new vantage point from which to watch games. As an assistant hitting coach, he spent much of his time watching film or helping bench players prepare in the batting cages. Now, not only will he not leave the dugout, but Bell will be the one summoned to step in as manager should Matheny be ejected.

"Hopefully, he never gets thrown out of the game, but I want to prepare as if I'm managing the game," Bell said. "Of course, I have other responsibilities as well, and hopefully I can make Mike's job as easy as possible by taking care of things that are my responsibility as bench coach. But I'm really looking at it as I'm going to manage that game. Not only in case something happens will I be prepared, but also it will make me more valuable to Mike during the game."

Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB and like her Facebook page Jenifer Langosch for Cardinals.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.