Bucs' No. 3 prospect wastes no time vs. Arrieta following inaugural callup
By Sarah K. Spencer
PITTSBURGH -- Josh Bell just couldn't stop grinning.
In the first pitch of his first Major League at-bat, Bell ripped a single to right field off reigning National League Cy Young Award winner Jake Arrieta, so his joy was well-earned. Bell, Pittsburgh's No. 3 prospect and 43rd overall per MLB Pipeline.com, was promoted from Triple-A Indianapolis on Friday to provide a bat off the bench, and he arrived in Pittsburgh not long before the Pirates' 8-4 win over the Cubs. His day was a whirlwind, but he tapped into that energy.
With the Pirates down, 4-3, in the seventh inning and Adam Frazier on first base, Bell pinch-hit for pitcher Neftali Feliz. He singled to send Frazier to third, and the Pirates' four-run parade was set in motion.
Bell did exactly what he was called up to do, and he was thinking happy thoughts all the way to first base. A throwing error by Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo plated Bell later in the seventh and gave the Pirates a 5-4 lead.
"Just like, 'Yes. Thank God.' I can't draw it up in a better way, especially against that team and that pitcher," Bell said. "We had our backs against the wall and it was awesome to be a part of that comeback."
After getting the news following Indianapolis' game Thursday, Bell had the luxury of telling his family the news in person.
"It's a dream come true for me," Bell said. "It was an awesome experience last night, getting the news and being able to share it with my family that was in town. I was able to go down to the family waiting room and was able to hug it out with my mom and dad after the game."
In June, Bell hit .364 with nine doubles, two triples, seven home runs and 26 RBIs. At the time of his callup, he ranked first in the International League in extra-base hits with 36.
To make room for Bell on the 25-man active roster, the Pirates optioned right-hander Tyler Glasnow to Indianapolis.
Hurdle was set to meet with general manager Neal Huntington on Friday to determine how Glasnow -- who gave up four runs on three hits in 5 1/3 innings in his big league debut on Thursday -- could factor into the rotation in the second half of the season.
Bell's power had impressed Hurdle, and his hit did not disappoint.
"My goodness," Hurdle said. "Big league first at-bat? In that scenario? I don't know how much better it gets."
Fantasy spin | Fred Zinkie (@FredZinkieMLB)
Pittsburgh's top infield prospect per MLB Pipeline, Bell earned his promotion by posting a .330/.417/.527 slash line in 504 plate appearances at the Triple-A level. But even with those stats and a recent power boost -- his 13 homers this year have already tied his professional season high -- the 23-year-old lacks the necessary pop to impact 10-team leagues. Still, the switch-hitter can be added in deeper formats under the assumption that he will have the chance to supplant John Jaso (four homers, 23 RBIs in 249 at-bats this year) as the Bucs' regular first baseman.
Around the horn
• Gerrit Cole, who was put on the 15-day disabled list with a right triceps muscle strain on June 11, is set for a second rehab start with Indianapolis on Sunday. Cole threw three innings on Tuesday.
• Ryan Vogelsong will make a rehab start for Double-A Altoona on Sunday. Vogelsong, who had surgery to repair multiple facial fractures on June 2, has made remarkable progress in his recovery.
• The Pirates have another player on the disabled list nearing recovery, as catcher Francisco Cervelli took batting practice on Friday. Cervelli had surgery to repair a broken hamate bone in his left hand on June 11.
Hurdle said Cervelli will continue to work out and run through drills with the team this week, and it will assess when Cervelli may begin a rehab assignment after the All-Star break.
Sarah K. Spencer is a reporter for MLB.com based in Pittsburgh. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.