CLEVELAND -- Struggling rookie Josh Bell said he's no longer overanxious at the plate, but admits that most of his hitting problems are mental.
"I definitely have doubted myself a little bit," said Bell, who is 3-for-20 with 11 strikeouts since his second callup following July 29's Miguel Tejada trade. "I'm not where I want to be, but I've definitely made strides towards it."
Bell was on the field early Wednesday afternoon with hitting coach Terry Crowley for some early extra hitting work -- along with several other O's -- and said he was working on some "minor tweaks" to better attack the inside pitch.
Orioles manager Buck Showalter gave Bell most of Tuesday's game off. He entered as a defensive replacement in the ninth -- with the expectation that he would likely start Wednesday and Thursday. While Bell's .167 batting average leaves much to be desired, Showalter believes the 23-year-old pressing at the plate isn't necessarily a bad thing.
"[You've] got to have some 'want to' there," Showalter said. "I'd a lot rather have that amount of caring than thinking 'sera, sera,' this is always going to be here. I want them to have a sense of urgency."
The Orioles' top position prospect, Bell hadn't played above Double-A until this season. His accelerated development prompted president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail to trade away Tejada and spend the final two months evaluating Bell's "Major League-readiness".
But Bell has struggled on both sides of the field, and the third baseman enters Wednesday with three errors in 15 games.
"There are some things that I know that I'm just not doing on the field," Bell said, citing cutting in front of shortstop Cesar Izturis in the ninth inning on Tuesday as one of those moments.
"I've been kind of standoffish, I think. [I've] just got to be more aggressive and trust myself. I'm putting things together as I go along."
Bell made good on his promise on Wednesday, making several key defensive plays and going 3-for-4. It marked just his second career multi-hit contest, raising his average to .212 in the process.
"[Players] are not numb," said Showalter, who made it a point to laud Bell's performance in his postgame media session. "They [have] got emotions. They'd certainly like to get a return on what they are working on."
Montanez, Johnson to rehab at Bowie
CLEVELAND -- Orioles outfielder Lou Montanez will report to Double-A Bowie and is expected to play in Wednesday night's game, with reliever Jim Johnson joining him on Thursday.
Montanez played in four Gulf Coast League games, going 3-for-15 (.200) with an RBI. He has been on the 15-day disabled list since June 26 with a left oblique strain suffered during pregame batting practice.
Johnson appeared in four GCL games, pitching four innings and allowing three earned runs on five hits -- including a homer -- with a walk and a five strikeouts. All three of those runs came in one outing, giving him a 6.75 ERA over that stretch.
Johnson (right elbow inflammation) has been on the 60-day DL since May 28 with an injury believed to be suffered during the second game of the Orioles' season.
Roberts' back appears to be back
CLEVELAND -- Brian Roberts was in Wednesday's starting lineup for the ninth consecutive game. While Orioles manager Buck Showalter said the team will continue to monitor how he's feeling, the kid gloves are off.
"We're getting a good medical report on him," Showalter said of Roberts, who missed nearly four months of the season with a herniated disc in his lower back. "He wants to finish strong and get that mental part [equal] with where he is physically. And if there's something that throws a flag up, we will address it and take care of it."
On Tuesday, Roberts rolled around and dove for a ball in the field and fell down at the plate swinging at an inside pitch -- which were both significant tests of his back. That Roberts was able to stay in the game and had no reported problems helps support Showalter's approach.
"You can see that everything he does right now, he's not thinking about [his back] anymore," Showalter said. "You have to get over mental hurdles about it -- especially when you have some back issues. [So] that you aren't thinking about it every time that you move quickly. We are being very sensitive to it, but at the same time I think it's important -- talking to [head athletic trainer Richard Bancells] and the doctors -- that he gets through it mentally as well as physically."
Roberts entered Wednesday's game batting .253 with a homer and four RBIs. He went 3-for-4 with a solo homer.
Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Twitter @britt_ghiroli. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.