Mike Bell’s grandfather, Gus, played most of his career with the Reds, and his father, Buddy, is one of the Cincinnati’s vice presidents, and his older brother, David, is in his second year as manager of the Reds. So he understands where his family’s loyalties lie this weekend.
“My youngest sister [Traci] just turned 35 the other day, and all she wanted was a Reds win. She’s an extremely loyal Reds fan,” the Twins’ bench coach said Friday, shortly before facing his brother for the first time at the major league level. “But she keeps telling my mom that she does love me, too.”
Mike had the shortest MLB career of the three generations of Bells — 19 games in 2000 with the Reds, naturally — but since retirement, he’s stayed in the game, just as his father, who managed the Tigers, Rockies and Royals, and brother did. Like them, he’d like to run a team — but at 45, and after a decade in the Diamondbacks’ front office, he’s in no hurry.
“In some ways, I thought I was ready last year. And then I get this job and it’s like, ‘Man, I’ve got a long way to go,’ “ Bell said. “Furthermore, I can’t imagine being in a better spot right now. … I’m learning stuff daily, weekly, by the month.”
He’s learning from Rocco Baldelli, his boss with the Twins, but also from his brother, who’s three years older than he is. They’re careful not to talk about anything proprietary about their teams, but this weekend is a great chance to talk baseball.
“Talking about players and specifics, that’s kind of crossing the boundary. But you talk about 2020, this crazy year. We did share some ideas and thoughts, especially before summer camp, trying to figure out ways to take care of players, bouncing ideas off one another,” Bell said. “Then early on, as I was settling into my role, I leaned on him a little bit more.”
Now they’re together, playing a series that will determine so much about the postseason chances of both teams — or whether David’s Reds even qualify. It makes Bell a little uncomfortable, and not just because his family hopes he loses.
“I’d have preferred if it had been the first series of the year, not the last series when it’s really important for both clubs,” said Bell, who exchanged lineup cards at home plate with his brother before Friday’s game. “But we’ll enjoy it. Getting to be on the same major league field as my brother, not a lot of people can say they’ve done that. I know I’ll cherish it.”
The Twins gave Homer Bailey a start Tuesday against the Tigers, allowing the veteran righthander to prove, as he heads back into free agency this winter, that he is healthy again after two months of working through biceps tendinitis. But because Bailey is not going to be on the postseason roster, the Twins released him, on the day his longtime team arrived at Target Field.
“Homer was a real professional in every way,” Baldelli said of the 34-year-old Texan, who started only two games for the Twins after signing a one-year, $7 million contract in January. “He didn’t get the opportunity to pitch as much as we wanted. But he handled everything the right way. … We’re sad to see him go.”
Cutting Bailey means the Twins might get to see rookie Edwar Colina pitch this weekend. The Venezuelan righthander was added to the 28-man roster for the final three games, much to his surprise.
“It’s hard to explain how I feel right now,” said Colina, who can hit triple digits with his fastball but considers the slider his best pitch. “I wasn’t waiting for this, to be honest. It was a big surprise, and I’m really excited.”
Colina, 25, has been groomed as a starter during his four seasons in the minors, but he’ll be in the bullpen this weekend, waiting to make his debut.
“He’s the kind of guy who has the stuff that can be dominant in a shorter stint,” Baldelli said. “We probably have these innings covered, but you want to use all your bullets, and he’s certainly a guy who can miss a ton of bats.”
• Jake Odorizzi won’t pitch this weekend, Baldelli said, in order to prevent risking a recurrence of the blister on his middle finger. Odorizzi, eligible to come off the injured list Sunday, isn’t scheduled to start a game in the wild-card series next week but likely will be needed if the Twins advance to the division series.
• Luis Arraez ran before Friday’s game, in hopes of proving he’s well enough to rejoin the team next week. Arraez is on the injured list to allow his sore left knee to rest, but he suffered a sprained left ankle while rehabbing in St. Paul.