Bell and other pro baseball players taught about 55 local kids the finer points of the game Saturday at Stengel Field during Crescenta Valley High School baseball coach Phil Torres' 15th annual winter camp.
"The idea is to get good baseball guys around the kids and let the kids run around and have a blast," Torres said. If the younger players, ranging from 7 to 14, pick up even one new skill, he said, "that's awesome for me."
Two of the teachers Saturday were students during Torres' first camp, held in 1997 on the concrete playground at Crescenta Valley High: Bell, a pitcher who started several games for the Los Angeles Angels last year and is vying for a spot in their rotation this year; and Bryan Longpre, a pitcher in the Toronto Blue Jays farm system.
Another pro on hand was Jesus "Chuy" Campos, an infielder currently assigned to the Angels AA affiliate in Arkansas.
Longpre was teaching pitching mechanics and how to throw a change-up, "one of the things I wish I knew when I was a kid," he said.
"It's good to give back," Longpre said.
Campos said he was emphasizing that infielders respond to a pop fly by communicating with one another. "That applies to everyday life, too," Campos said.
Bell was offering fielding tips for pitchers. When racing batters toward first base, pitchers should tap only the near edge of the bag to minimize the risk of getting their foot stomped on.
"Obviously, these kids are fairly new to baseball," Bell said as younger players walked up to ask for his autograph. "If someone teaches them how to do things the right way, that will stay with them for the rest of their lives."