Does Josh Bell’s hot bat help him in the field for Pirates? | TribLIVE.com
Pirates/MLB

Does Josh Bell’s hot bat help him in the field for Pirates?

Jerry DiPaola
1125175_web1_GTR-BucsNB02-050819
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Pirates first baseman Josh Bell plays against the Rangers Tuesday, May 7, 2019, at PNC Park.
1125175_web1_GTR-BucsNB01-050819
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Pirates first baseman Josh Bell plays against the Rangers Tuesday, May 7, 2019, at PNC Park.
1125175_web1_GTR-Bucs03-050519
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Pirates first baseman Josh Bell, watching his two-run homer Saturday, hasn’t committed an error at home this year.

Josh Bell led the Pittsburgh Pirates in home runs with eight through 31 games (twice as many as his closest pursuers, Starling Marte and Jung Ho Kang).

Bell had 25 RBIs, and the next-best run producers — Marte and Colin Moran — combined for 27.

But perhaps the stat that most exemplifies how hard the former outfielder works is his total of three errors in 252 chances.

After making an error on Opening Day on March 28 in Cincinnati, he made none until back-to-back games in Los Angeles on April 27-28.

Before Tuesday’s game against the Texas Rangers, he had not made an error at PNC Park this season.

Clint Hurdle believes Bell’s effort is the product of hard work.

“This young man has worked as hard as anybody I’ve been around to improve defensively,” Hurdle said.

“There’s no replacing hard work in anything. Things don’t just happen. Josh has put in the time, the energy, the effort.

“He continues to challenge himself. I think he’s realistic in the nature of (trying to be) the best he can be. I anticipate him getting there. He’s not there yet.”

Hurdle also said Bell’s success at the plate might serve as an indirect benefit in the field.

“Is there a confidence that comes with banging the ball?” Hurdle said. “Probably a little bit, as well. Maybe you play a little freer, a little easier.”

Who’s on third?

Moran started at third base for the 12th time this season — the fifth in the past six games — as Kang remains in a seasonlong 12-for-82 slump.

It certainly isn’t because of Moran’s bat. He had only one hit in his previous 13 at-bats before Tuesday.

Hurdle warned not to read too much into the situation.

“It was trying to get Kang some time away, get him some work,” the manager said. “A combination of Colin and individual matchups provided us potentially better at-bats.

“Neither one of them is going to be banished.”

Hurdle was pleased to see Kang’s slump and his two throwing errors Friday didn’t linger throughout the weekend.

He turned a double play in the 13th inning Sunday against the A’s after fielding a ball that caromed off pitcher Tyler Lyons.

“If he’s not paying attention, not involved in the game, he doesn’t field that ball, he doesn’t turn a double play, we don’t get out of that inning,” Hurdle said. “I don’t know if we win the game. That shows me the separation of bat and ball, and he’s still engaged.”

Jerry DiPaola is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jerry by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .

Categories: Sports | Pirates
TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.