SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Few people in baseball know reliever Heath Bell like D-backs general manager Kevin Towers.
Towers was the Padres GM who let closer Trevor Hoffman leave via free agency and replaced him with Bell. And it was Towers who acquired Bell this winter after the right-hander had a disastrous 2012 season with the Marlins.
Bell saved 43 games and had a 2.44 ERA for the Padres in 2011 before signing a three-year, $27 million deal with the Marlins. It was a bad fit from the start, as the 35-year-old compiled a 5.37 ERA and feuded with former Miami manager Ozzie Guillen.
While watching him last year, Towers said he noticed Bell's stride was a little long, which could have caused him to elevate his pitches.
"I think his stuff is the same, it's just pitching is tough and a lot of it is mental," Towers said. "You get off to a tough start, man, and you're in a new place with a big contract and high expectations, and it didn't sound he and the manager hit it off all that well. Just not a good environment."
Bell is expected to pitch in a seventh-inning setup role for the D-backs, with he and David Hernandez filling in as closer if J.J. Putz is unavailable.