GVB – You have gotten off to a solid start, what has been the key for you?
JB – I feel that I could close my eyes and keep the same swing, time after time from both sides of the plate. I only took one week off during the off season. I think I got in about 15,000 swings from each side.
GVB – You are healthy and your base, your legs are healthy. That's is so important for you.
JB – That's one of the most important things, from what I've seen with big league interviews, you look at a guy like Hunter Pence and he said the most important thing in the off season is just working your legs out and getting them as strong as possible for the season, for the later months in the year, so that's what I worked on and that's why I'm looking forward to finishing strong this year.
GVB – Looking back at last year and coming back from being injured, how did you feel the season went?
JB – The season had some ups and downs. I finished off fairly well for not having played in eight months. But I felt like there was such a lack of consistency that I couldn't really grow from month to month. It was more of a search mode for the entire season. So when I came out this off season I knew exactly what I needed to work on. I have a steady stance from inside of the plate, so that's not going to fluctuate at all. I'm really pumped to see how that shows on the field this year.
GVB – Did you do Instructional League and if so how did that go?
JB – Yeah this past year I did Instructional League for about two weeks. Just to finish off talking with the Hitting Coordinators, they let me know what they wanted me to work on this off season and I think I did a good job of going out and doing it.
GVB – What was that off season checklist of things to work on?
JB – From the hitting aspect, they just wanted me to get into my legs and have a consistent approach. Whether that's the mental side and the physical side. In the outfield they just wanted me to get my legs underneath me and I feel like I did a good job of doing that.
GVB – You sound like you are pumped up for this season?
JB – I'm definitely pumped. I was talking to my Dad about it. He came up with a pretty good analogy – he said it seems like you've been studying for a test all fall and you finally get to take your exam all summer.
GVB – Your power numbers appear to be improving this season.
JB – I'm trying more to swing on my pitch. I want to do better on off-speed stuff in general, but if a pitch is not absolutely crushable, I'm doing my best to lay off it.
GVB – Do you have any timetable for moving up in the organization?
JB – Right now, I'm doing my best at controlling what I can. If I have a rough game, I just have to focus on what I can do better next time out. Whatever happens in the future is just going to happen, whether that's getting to the Majors ASAP or taking some time to reach that.
Pirates' outfield prospect Josh Bell is off to a great start with High A Bradenton. The 21-year old is batting .286 with two home runs and 17 RBI. PiratesDugout.com's George Von Benko spoke with Bell.
Outfielder is off to a solid start at High A Bradenton.