Notes: Bell returns to Orioles
Veteran hurler threw several bullpen sessions in Minor Leagues
ST. PETERSBURG -- As a seven-year Major League veteran, Rob Bell is accustomed to being busy in September. However, when the Orioles designated him for assignment on Thursday, Bell threw a couple of bullpen sessions with Double-A Bowie and after three days in Baltimore, he returned home to Tampa.
"I really can't describe it," Bell said. "You're sitting home watching TV at 5 o'clock when you should be stretching, taking BP and getting ready for a game. Watching games on TV the last couple of days, it's almost painful. I wouldn't say it's surreal, but it definitely feels out of body."
Having been designated and assigned by Tampa Bay in 2005, Bell already knew the procedure. Still, there was a doubt whether he'd be back with the Orioles after going 3-3 with a 6.49 ERA in his first 21 appearances for the O's.
"When I got exposed to waivers, I knew if somebody picked me up, there'd be an opportunity somewhere," Bell said. "But, things have been good here. The last two weeks have been a struggle, but previously, there were a lot of good things going on and I want to be a part of that. I like the guys here. I like the staff here."
Luckily for Bell, no one claimed him on waivers, and it ended up being a short vacation, plus a short drive back to work on Wednesday.
"All the other teams must feel they have enough pitching, but we'll certainly welcome him back," Orioles manager Dave Trembley said.
To make room on the 40-man roster, the club designated righty Sendy Rleal for assignment. The team also released right-hander Paul Shuey on Wednesday as the bullpen continues to undergo changes. For now, Bell returns to a long man role in the bullpen, but with 108 career starts, his versatility could come in handy down the stretch with injuries mounting. What the future holds remains to be seen as Bell has pitched with six different organizations in his 13-year pro career.
"You just have to focus on today," Bell said. "Put together a bunch of todays and hope it works out."
Saturday start: Jon Leicester will make his first start as an Oriole on Saturday. The 28-year-old right-hander will oppose Boston's Daisuke Matsuzaka in the third game of a four-game set at Camden Yards.
Called up Thursday, Leicester has allowed seven runs in his first five innings with the O's. Prior to the promotion, Leicester was 3-3 with a 2.29 ERA in 11 starts with Triple-A Norfolk.
Leicester made his first career start back in 2005 with the Chicago Cubs. The year before, he appeared in 32 games for Cubs, going 5-1 with a 3.89 ERA. Leicester signed with Baltimore as a Minor League free agent prior to this season.
More Moore: With Baltimore out of contention, September will be a chance to look at new talent. One of the Orioles' newest additions is third baseman Scott Moore, who made his first start for Baltimore on Saturday at Boston. He returned to the lineup again on Wednesday, shifting Melvin Mora to designated hitter for the first time this season. Moore, acquired from Chicago in the Steve Trachsel trade on Aug. 31, went 0-for-3 in his first action with the Orioles.
Wednesday was also the third start for young righty Radhames Liz, who lost his debut Aug. 25 to Minnesota. With the 24-year-old Dominican righty on the mound, Trembley turned to veteran Paul Bako to catch.
"We'll let Bako have the game plan and we'll just let Liz pitch," Trembley said.
Thank goodness for Tampa: Despite a bad run of late, the Orioles have continued to dominate the Devil Rays. With an 8-4 victory on Tuesday, the Orioles improved to 11-6 against Tampa Bay this year and snapped a four-game slide to the Rays. Last year, Baltimore won 13 games against Tampa Bay, its most against any opponent in one season since taking 13 from the Yankees in 1976. Since 2004, Baltimore is 39-18 against Tampa Bay and 93-74 all-time vs. the Rays.
Up next: The Orioles open a four-game series at Camden Yards against the East-leading Red Sox on Thursday night at 7:05 ET. Left-hander Garrett Olson (1-3, 7.22 ERA) will make the start for Baltimore. He will be opposed by knuckleball specialist Tim Wakefield (16-10, 4.16).
Anthony Gagliano is a contributor for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.