As an injury-plagued season winds down in Boston, the Red Sox starting lineup typically includes at least a couple of players who spent part of this season in Pawtucket and could be back with the PawSox next year.
Daniel Nava, Ryan Kalish, Yamaico Navarro, Josh Reddick, Lars Anderson, Felix Doubront, Michael Bowden, and Robert Coello are among the likely candidates to get some more minor league seasoning at McCoy Stadium next summer.
A total of 22 Pawtucket players (not including rehabbing players) were promoted to Boston this season, but unfortunately, the list did not include the guy who was named the PawSox MVP – Bubba Bell.
(photo courtesy of Kelly O’Connor)
Bell was Pawtucket’s most consistent offensive player in 2010, as he batted .293 with 6 HR, 49 RBI and 13 stolen bases. The 27-year-old outfielder finished 14th in the league in batting average, and 13th in OBP at .366.
“I had some times where I got pretty hot and other times where I cooled off a bit, but for the most part, I was pretty consistent the entire year and that was huge,” Bubba told me. “If I can take it to the next level, I think I’ll have an opportunity to stick somewhere and turn a pretty good career out of what I have left.”
A big key for Bell was simply staying healthy. After being plagued by leg injuries over the previous two seasons, Bubba spent part of last winter in Santa Barbara, CA at a high-tech training center named P3 – that’s short for Peak Performance Project. The list of A-list athletes who have trained there includes Milwaukee Brewers’ star Ryan Braun, NBA All-Star Deron Williams, and former Patriots standouts Ty Law and Troy Brown.
Bell hopes to spend even more time at P3 this winter than he did last year.
“It’s expensive but I strongly believe that it’s worth every single cent that I’ve paid – especially with the success that I had this year,” Bell said. “I just got a little taste of it last year and hopefully I’m able to go for another month this time and come into camp even stronger and faster. It’s definitely an investment – you have to think of it that way – and making the kind of money that some of us in the minors are making right now, it can be tough but it’s definitely worth it.
“In the past I’ve had some trouble staying healthy and this year I was more fortunate. I took the necessary steps to stay on the field and I was able to stay healthy for the most part and I think my numbers have shown it.”
Bubba’s off-season began by heading home to Texas for a little rest and relaxation.
“I’m going to go home for a couple of weeks at least – I want to do something to take my mind off of the season and unwind a little bit,” Bell told me on the final day of the season. “I haven’t seen my parents in what seems like forever, so I’m looking forward to seeing them. I’d really like to do something fun – whether it’s going to a beach or going down to Austin and floating down the river, I’d love to do something for a few days to help me unwind.
“Then it’s back to work. This is a big off-season for me – who knows what’s going to happen next year. So I just want to continue to work hard. Maybe I’ll play some winter ball depending on the opportunity and then in January I’ll go back to Santa Barbara to work out.”
The goal for 2011 is obvious – to get to the big leagues whether it’s in Boston or elsewhere.
“I’m not a free agent, but I am Rule 5 eligible and you never know what’s going to happen with that,” Bell said. “I just need to come in ready next year wherever I’m at and try to really make a mark and open some eyes.”
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