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Bell ringing for Bellhorn
Mark Bellhorn finally emerged from the trainer's room Saturday after getting treatment for not one, not two, but three minor injuries.
He got some ice for his left hand, which was hit by a Paul Quantrill fastball Friday night. He got some heat for his back and some electronic stimulation for his right knee.
"But none of it is going to stop me from playing," Bellhorn said .
Bellhorn has become a key figure during the Cubs' West Coast swing.
Bellhorn has been in the lineup for four of the five games and batted second Thursday, Friday and Saturday night.
"It's been good to get a lot of playing time," Bellhorn said. "That's what I've always hoped for. I got that in '97 and then in the last three or four years, hardly any."
Bellhorn was a hot prospect for the Athletics after Oakland took him in the second round of the 1995 draft.
He played mostly outfield in the minors, but got his big-league chance when second baseman Scott Spiezio went down with an injury in 1997.
Bellhorn, then 22, struggled, batting .228 with 70 strikeouts and nine errors in 68 games.
"I was too young," he said. "You can always look back and say, 'What if?' But at least I got a chance to play."
Bellhorn attributed his trouble to a lack of experience and confidence.
"At that point I was still in awe watching (Jose) Canseco and (Mark) McGwire on TV, and then the next day I'm playing next to McGwire," he recalled. "I didn't have the confidence to know I can play in the big leagues. ."
Bellhorn, whom the Cubs acquired in November for infield prospect Adam Morrissey, earned a job in the spring by batting .362 with two homers and 12 RBIs in 27 games. He didn't commit an error despite shuttling between second base, third base and center field.
"I didn't know he could play that many positions until he got to spring training," Cubs manager Don Baylor said. "In the National League you're always looking for versatile guys like that. He was going to be the everyday starter for Oakland. Then he kind of disappeared.
He's been valuable for us."
Bellhorn reached base four times Friday on a single, a hit-by-pitch and two walks. He took a .237 batting average and a respectable .338 on-base percentage into Saturday.
His weakness continues to be strikeouts, as he whiffed a team-high 23 times in his first 59 at-bats. But his three homers tied him with Fred McGriff for second behind Sammy Sosa.
"He grows on you the more you watch him play," said third base coach Gene Glynn."He fits that role of that extra playeror maybe a step above that."