After playing 552 games as a member of the Pirates, Josh Bell made his return to the Burgh over the weekend and highlighted it with a moonshot home run.
Yinz got class.
— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) September 10, 2021
Josh Bell was back in the Steel City where his Major League career began back in 2016 and Bucco Nation made sure to show him plenty of love.
They greeted the Nationals first baseman with a standing ovation before his first PNC Park at bat as a member of the road team.
Yinz knew it was comin'…
— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) September 11, 2021
Bell hit 86 home runs and drove in 309 runs during his five years with the Pirates, and in the sixth inning of Friday night’s game he proved his comfort in the Pittsburgh batters box by hitting a solo home run to extend Washington’s lead to 3-1.
However that lead would not stand up for long: Pirates MLBbro Anthony Alford answered Bell’s bomb with a homer of his own to cut the deficit to one, then later on in the game, their young phenom Ke’Bryan Hayes sent folks home happy with the first walk off hit of his career.
— MLBbro.com (@MLBbrodotcom) September 11, 2021
During the weekend series Bell was 3-for-9 with five walks, two runs and that home run as his Nationals could only salvage one win out of the three games.
Bell finished third in Rookie of the Year voting in 2017 and was named as an All-Star for the Pirates in 2019. That year he hit .277 with career highs in home runs, average, OPS, slugging percentage, hits, doubles and runs.
Josh Bell has hit 25 HRs in a season for the 3rd time in his @MLB career.
— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) September 9, 2021
That year was also Bell’s second time homering 25 or more times for the Pirates, and with him already passing that mark this season, he became just the second player in Major League history to hit 25 home runs for the Nationals/ Montreal Expos and the Pirates joining former first baseman Adam LaRoche.
— Pittsburgh Pirates (@Pirates) August 30, 2020
Bell is one of the few pieces that stayed in Washington after their fire sale during the trade deadline. His year started off slow as he only hit .113 for the month of April and has been fighting to rise the average ever since.
“I feel good as of late,” said Bell to reporters before Friday night’s game. “I had a really rough start that I had to work my way out of. Thank God it wasn’t a 60-game season again. I kind of turned things around.”
He signed a one-year deal with the Nationals this offseason and is now batting .253 with 26 home runs, a .813 OPS and 81 RBI.
He has definitely earned himself a payday after this season whether he gets it in D.C. or with a new franchise.
Bell is now chasing the 30-homer mark during this final month of the season. Showing those numbers during contract negotiations can only help his cause.
This week he and his Nationals will take on the “Bahamian Blur” Jazz Chisholm Jr. and the Miami Marlins.