Bell toils for Red Wings, but he's...

FREDERICK — Bell toils for Red Wings, but he's not happy about it

ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- Second base is becoming a familiar position, but much to Juan Bell's dismay, so is the place he is learning to play it.


After spending all of last season with the Orioles, Bell was unhappy going back to the Triple-A Rochester Red Wings.

"[When] they sent me down, I told them they could release me," Bell said. "If they want to trade me, they can trade me for anybody."


Bell's reaction was normal for someone being sent back to Triple-A for the third time, said Orioles assistant general manager Doug Melvin.

"I'm sure he's frustrated," Melvin said. "We sympathize with that. A lot of players are frustrated in the minor leagues. There is a lot of frustration in this game. Some players hold it in better than others."

Bell said he was not given a chance to prove himself last season.

"If they give me a chance to play every day like the other guy . . . " he said in a reference to Bill Ripken.

Bell, 24, played 100 games for the Orioles last season, 77 at second base (with 54 starts) and 15 at shortstop. He committed nine errors, and in 209 at-bats, batted .172 with 15 RBI, eight walks and 51 strikeouts.

"Some people capitalize on opportunities more than others," Melvin said. "I recognize Juan didn't get a chance to play consecutively. Some guys get more of an opportunity than others. Sometimes when you get a short opportunity, you have to capitalize on it. Mark McLemore is the best example now. Chito [Martinez] is from last year."

Bell has played in 15 of the Red Wings' 16 games before the weekend, and has made 13 starts at second base. Ricky Gutierrez has been playing shortstop.

"He has done all right," manager Jerry Narron said of Bell, who is hitting .237 with six RBI. "He hasn't had a whole lot of chances.


"The main reason he started over there every day is he needs to play," Narron said. "If something happens to Billy, he's supposed to be the guy to go."

Bell said he doesn't care whether he plays for the Orioles again, but he and Melvin agree that his only way back to the majors is by playing well for the Red Wings.

"By putting up numbers at Triple-A, that's the best he can get back to the big leagues, with us or someone else," Melvin said.

"I would like to get traded," Bell said. "I have to play good to get traded."

NOTES: Right-hander Richie Lewis pitched the team's first complete-game shutout, 6-0 over Richmond, on Thursday. Arthur Rhodes, Todd Stephan and Tim Layana had combined on a 6-0 victory over Syracuse on Monday. . . . Rhodes shared the league strikeout lead with 26. . . . DH-OF Scott Meadows led the league with a .375 average before Friday's game. . . . Relievers had allowed 10 of 21 inherited runners to score.

Left-hander Israel Sanchez (0-0, 2.35) went on the disabled list because of a strained muscle on his right side. Left-hander Daryl Moore joined the Red Wings from Hagerstown. . . . OF Jack Voigt's hitting streak ended at eight games. . . . C Mark Parent was 4-for-11 with two RBI since returning to the lineup after a recurring injury to his left hamstring. . . . OF Doug Jennings had six multiple-hit games. FREDERICK -- Frederick Keys pitchers are acquiring a reputation as punch-out artists.


In 179 innings, the staff has struck out 158 batters and walked 71, a ratio of more than 2-1.

Left-hander Matt Anderson led the way with 30 strikeouts in 25 innings, followed by another left-hander, Terry Farrar (24 in 21 1/3 ), Jim Dedrick (21 in 20 2/3 ) and Joe Borowski (eight in 8 1/3 ).

The results have been victories. During a three-game series against Salem last week, the Keys overpowered Buccaneers hitters, allowing one run in 27 innings.

NOTES: The team batting average was .241 after 20 games, but there was no dearth of home runs. Frederick hit 16 during that stretch with Kevin Seitzer's brother, Brad, and Paul Carey leading the way with four apiece. Stanton Cameron, obtained in the Rule V draft from the Mets, and Brad Tyler had three each. . . . Left-hander John Polasek, released by West Palm Beach the final day of spring training, was signed to replace pitcher Brad Pennington. . . . Rob Blumberg retired from baseball after making one appearance for the Keys, and catcher Doug Flowers was released by the Orioles organization. . . . Attendance still was suffering because of inclement weather. The Keys averaged only 2,382 through the first 11 home dates.

Kent Baker