Going into Saturday’s game against the San Francisco Giants in Oracle Park, Josh Bell, 29, and headed for free agency next winter unless he and the Washington Nationals agree on an extension before the end of the 2022 campaign, had hit safely in 16 of the 21 games he played in this season, and put up a .357/.458/.514 line with five doubles, two home runs, and 12 walks vs 9 Ks 85 plate appearances into his second season in D.C.
Bell went 4 for 6 with a double in the Nats’ 14-4 win over the Giants in series opener, and his manager, Davey Martinez, talked before Saturday’s game about he thought was behind their switch-hitting first baseman starting so strong this season.
“He’s not really trying to do too much,” Martinez explained. “He’s just staying on the ball, trying to use the middle of the field.
“What I love is his at-bats with runners in scoring position right now. I mean, he’s just trying to put the ball in play and using the whole field, so he’s in a good spot, he’s in a good place.
“The biggest thing for us is to keep him on the field and keep him healthy right now.”
Bell has dealt with knee and hamstring issues over the last few weeks, but he’s managed to stay in the lineup for a club which needs him and his bat in the middle of the lineup, and he is working his way towards being 100%.
“He’s getting there,” Martinez said. “Josh works really hard, not only on the field but off the field. He’s — every day he’s in there, he’s got a great routine, so he’ll be 100% here really, really soon, but like I said, he knows what he’s doing, he’s having that great start to a season, and like I said, he’s just trying to go up there, see the ball, get ready early, and hit the ball hard somewhere, and he’s been doing that.”
Bell went 2 or 4 with a double in yesterday’s loss, leaving him with a .365/.460/.527 line in 89 PAs.
Will Bell and the Nats be able to earn a series win in San Francisco today?
HERE’S THE NATIONALS’ LINEUP FOR THE FINALE WITH THE GIANTS:
It's gonna be Gray.#NATITUDE pic.twitter.com/4KeHbAd7CF— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) May 1, 2022