Heath Bell worked a scoreless ninth inning this afternoon in Washington's 7-6 win over the New York Yankees, striking out one batter in a clean frame.
In eight appearances out of the bullpen and 6 ⅓ innings pitched this Spring, the 37-year-old, 11-year veteran gave up seven hits, five walks and five runs, four earned.
After today's game, the Nationals reportedly released Bell, who signed a minor league contract this winter after signing with and being released by three teams last season.
SB Nation writer Chris Cotillo was first with the news of Bell's release today:
#Nationals have released Heath Bell, per source. Will look to catch on elsewhere as he continues comeback attempt.— Chris Cotillo (@ChrisCotillo) March 23, 2015
Washington Post writer James Wagner confirmed the release with a source after the initial report:
Nats have released Heath Bell, per source. He gave up 4 ER in 6 1/3 innings. Fastball recently clocked at 90 mph. @ChrisCotillo had first.— James Wagner (@JamesWagnerWP) March 23, 2015
Bell came into camp with the Nationals 40 pounds lighter than he was last season, trying to revive a career that stalled after he signed a 3-year/$27M deal with the Miami Marlins in 2011-2012.
The Marlins traded the reliever the following October after a 2012 campaign in which he was (4-5) with 19 saves, a 5.09 ERA and 3.72 FIP in 73 games and 63 ⅔ IP over which he walked 29 (4.10 BB/9) and K'd 59 (8.34 K/9).
In his last full season in the majors, in 2013, Bell was (5-2) with 15 saves, a 4.11 ERA, 4.10 FIP, 16 walks (2.19 BB/9) and 72 Ks (9.87 K/9) in 65 ⅔ IP.
His chances of earning a spot in the Nationals' bullpen were slim from the start. Did he do enough to convince another team to give him a shot?
MLB.com's Bill Ladson confirmed the news with Bell after the other reports this afternoon: