ARLINGTON -- It's been nearly four years since Heath Bell took the loss for the National League in the 2009 All-Star Game, but he still remembers it, which makes it hard for him to believe that he's been so effective against American League foes during the regular season.
"I don't have good numbers in the All-Star Game, so that's very surprising to me," Bell said. "I didn't know that. I know American League hitters crush the ball. Maybe I need to be on my 'A' game… I never thought I'd have good numbers in Interleague Play."
Bell, who is 5-1 with a 2.73 ERA with 16 saves in 49 career Interleague games, has not allowed an earned run in his last 17 Interleague appearances. That is tied for the second-longest such streak in the Majors, behind only the Braves' Craig Kimbrel. Bell has tossed 2 2/3 scoreless innings during Interleague Play this season.
"I like Interleague Play a lot," Bell said. "I like going to different cities and different teams, because you meet some guys at the All-Star Game, or you meet some guys around the league, and then you don't get to see them."
Bell has posted a 3.92 ERA this year in 22 outings entering Thursday, converting nine of 11 save opportunities while taking over as the team's closer with J.J. Putz on the disabled list with a strained right elbow since May 8.
"J.J. is a good friend of mine, and you never like to see a guy get hurt like that," Bell said. "I talked to him a few days ago, and he said he should be back in roughly 10 days. I'm just trying to help out until J.J. comes back, and when he comes back, he's going to start closing. Then I'll go back to filling in different roles."
Christian Corona is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less