BRADENTON, Fla. – Josh Bell underwent knee surgery at the end of January, which wasn’t great timing when you consider the start of Spring Training was approaching. But the timing could have been much worse, such as taking place in July or sometime during the regular season. Bell was expected to be out for 2-4 weeks, and he’s currently in his second week of rehab.
“I feel great,” Bell said today. “It’s good to be back here. It’s good to see teammates. It’s good to be back on a baseball field for the first time in a month. I’m excited to be back.”
Bell said that he was in a “fire hydrant” position for yoga, flipped back around, and couldn’t get full flexibility in his knee when he noticed the injury.
“I called [Pirates Head Athletic Trainer] Todd [Tomczyk], and a few days later I was under the knife and they get it taken care of, and I could fully flex out my leg again,” Bell said.
After the surgery, Bell took about four or five days off. He has since been working out in Dallas, and has resumed throwing, but isn’t to the point where he can hit off a tee yet. He’s hoping that will happen at some point this week, and his bigger goal is to be ready for the season.
“I’m just focused on being ready for Opening Day. Being ready in June and July,” Bell said. “We’ll see how I feel when I get out there. I know Todd was stressing we’re not going to rush, because there’s really no reason to. I definitely trust my preparation in the past, and this offseason I did a ton of work. I’m not worried, even though I haven’t swung in a week and a half, two weeks. I had my swing down pat. I feel like it’s just going to be a timing thing, more than anything else.”
Gerrit Cole Right on Track
Every update on Gerrit Cole this offseason has been the same: he’s having a normal offseason. That’s good to hear, considering he missed a lot of time last year, going on the disabled list three times with a shoulder issue. Cole said that he was feeling good today.
“Yeah, right on track,” Cole said of his offseason. “Got married, so honeymoon. Good holidays. Same old stuff.”
Cole said that he had a different offseason this year, compared to last year when he had a fluke injury in his buildup to Spring Training. But the important thing is that he said he’s “in a good spot” and is “excited to get going.”
Chris Stewart Ready to Start the Year
Chris Stewart said that he will be 100% ready at the start of Spring Training, following a year where he missed a lot of time and was shut down early due to a knee injury. Stewart, who turns 35 at the end of the week, joked that he was going to get through the 2017 season, then try to take it step by step and aim for 4-5 more years in his career.
The knee injury last year was an issue that was made worse with his workload. It wasn’t an issue hitting, but other activities made it worse.
“I really didn’t have much issues with it hitting last year,” Stewart said. “The running, the squatting, the overall load throughout the day just put it in a weakened state. It has responded well. The occasional days where a slight fatigue at the end of the day, but I think that’s typical at my age, regardless of what my knees have been through on surgeries that I’ve had. I don’t think I can respond any better.”
Following his surgery with his brand new knees, Stewart joked about his offensive expectations for the upcoming season.
“We’re going to start with A stolen base, and maybe two home runs for the initial projection, and then everything else is a bonus after that.”