© 2009 MLB Advanced Media, L.P. All rights reserved.
08/11/09 9:50 PM ET
Bell well-equipped for debut
Angels righty's family no stranger to big stage
By Lyle Spencer / MLB.com
ANAHEIM -- Angels right-hander Trevor Bell will get an adrenaline rush, of course, when he takes a Major League mound for the first time on Wednesday afternoon with about 100 family members and friends from the Burbank-Glendale area in the Angel Stadium stands. It is doubtful, however, Bell will experience stage fright. Entertainment runs through his family tree. Bob Bell, Trevor's paternal grandfather, was Bozo the Clown to Chicago-based WGN-TV's viewers for years before retiring in San Diego, where he died at 75 in 1997. Trevor Bell, a 22-year-old who will send low-90s fastballs along with breaking balls and changeups the Rays' way, has two brothers who act and model, and he also has made a few appearances in front of the cameras. "I did a Russell Athletic [wear] commercial," Trevor said, grinning. "I was actually a hitter in it." He also was a hitter at 12 years old when he was playing for the Valley Heat against the San Diego Stars, whose pitcher reputedly was the best 12-year-old baseball player in the country. That kid is now Bell's teammate, Sean O'Sullivan. It was the big right-hander, having made his seventh start for the Angels on Monday night against the Rays, who picked up Bell at his hotel on Tuesday and brought him to the Angels' clubhouse to get familiar with his new surroundings. "He was a man among boys when he was 12," Bell said. "When he was 14, Sean looked like he was 25. Back then, I was a hitter, and he was very intimidating. He was 'The Man' in San Diego. We were talking about that today when he picked me up." O'Sullivan still looks old for his age -- he could pass for Trevor's uncle -- but, at 21, he's actually younger than Bell. The Angels are leaning on these two old friends to help them dig out of their latest rotation crisis, with Joe Saunders having joined Kelvim Escobar on the disabled list. This has been an eventful season for Bell, a compensation pick (No. 37 overall) in 2005 out of Crescenta Valley High School in La Crescenta. He never got higher than Class A his first four professional seasons, but this year he rocketed through Double-A Arkansas and Triple-A Salt Lake to reach the big time. "I feel like last year took five years," he said, having been demoted from high-A Rancho Cucamonga to low-A Cedar Rapids at one point. "This year has been a roller-coaster ride, it's gone so fast. That might be a good thing." Bell -- who was made 22 total starts between Salt Lake and Arkansas -- has gone through the familiar transformation from thrower to pitcher. He has learned how to put his fastball on corners, how to work in and out, how to throw breaking balls and changeups for strikes when hitters are sitting on fastballs. He'll have Mike Napoli behind the plate on Wednesday, and he'll have a few words with old buddy O'Sullivan about the Rays' hitters as well as pitching coach Mike Butcher and manager Mike Scioscia. One thing is for sure: As much as Trevor loved his grandfather and takes pride in his show-biz heritage, there will be no clowning around by this Bell.
Lyle Spencer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.