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Trevor Bell returns to form with Pensacola Blue Wahoos

Former first-round pick flashes brilliance of old during 2013 season in double-A.

October 12, 2013|By Grant Gordon, grant.gordon@latimes.com
  • ARCHIVE PHOTO: Former Crescenta Valley High pitcher Trevor Bell reinvented his career as a closing pitcher for the Pensacola Blue Wahoos in 2013.
ARCHIVE PHOTO: Former Crescenta Valley High pitcher… (Courtesy of Michael…)

Trevor Bell is never too far from his days at Crescenta Valley High.

Hence, despite some headaches with his flight plans out of Louisville, Bell arrived in time to lend his voice and make an appearance at a Glendale Unified School District meeting during the first week of September.

Speaking on behalf of repairing and maintaining Stengel Field, where he plied his trade as a high school phenom with the Falcons, Bell eloquently stated: “Stengel Field, to me, is a place that not only creates dreams, but a place that makes them come true. I know for a fact that if not for this ballpark, I would not be where I ended up.”

Where Bell ended up in the 2013 baseball season was in Louisville, ending his year as part of the Cincinnati Reds triple-A organization.

Where his year began was with the Detroit Tigers organization. Where his season, and perhaps his career, found rebirth was with the Pensacola Blue Wahoos, as the right-handed fireballer rediscovered a passion for the game and reestablished the dominant form that made him a first-round draft pick of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim out of high school in 2005.

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“It almost felt like it was high school baseball again,” Bell said. “I told myself I wanted to start new, good attitude, not be disgruntled, play the game and be a good teammate.”

With that approach, Bell dazzled in double-A.

For the first time, he was given the role as closer and, much like being the veteran figure in a young clubhouse, he embraced the position.

At season’s end for Pensacola, Bell sported a 1.72 earned-run average with 17 saves over 27 appearances and 37 strikeouts over 31 1/3 innings to just eight walks. Mixed with a trio of appearances for triple-A Louisville, Bell had a 2.45 ERA over 35 minor league innings and looked every bit his old self.

And much of it came with the very new role of closer, one that he quickly acclimated himself too.

“The first time out, just not being in that position before, adrenaline maybe got the best of him,” said Wahoos Manager Delino DeShields, a former MLB first-rounder who played with five clubs, including the Montreal Expos and Los Angeles Dodgers. “After the first time, though, he really settled in and did a great job for us.”

Bell’s shot at being a closer was a welcomed one that further broadened his view on all things pitching after he’d previously been a starter and a middle reliever in the minors and majors.

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