After being released by the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in late July, Trevor Bell began to explore any potential options about a return to Major League Baseball.
On Monday, Bell found a suitor after he checked his cell phone messages.
Bell, a former Crescenta Valley High star and All-Area Baseball Player of the Year selection, signed a minor league free agent deal with the Detroit Tigers, who advanced to the World Series this past season against the San Francisco Giants, on Tuesday.
Bell, a right-hander who graduated from Crescenta Valley in 2005, said he will report to the Tigers’ spring training facility via a spring-training invitation in February in Lakeland, Fla.
“I signed my contract and I’m ready to go,” said Bell, who was taken with a compensatory pick at the end of the first round in the 2005 Major League Baseball First Year Player Draft as the 37th overall pick overall by the Angels. “I got a call from Al Avila, the assistant general manager of the Tigers, and I’m excited to be going to a team that’s got a rich history.
“I was flattered that he called me. Usually, this time of year, you have teams going after top-tier major league free agents. The Tigers were very interested.”
Bell spent last season with the Salt Lake Bees, where he went 1-6 with an 8.27 ERA. He also spent time on the disabled list because of a right-elbow strain.
Having recovered from his elbow ailment, Bell said he’s looking to rejuvenate his career with Detroit.
“It’s a city that’s a true baseball city,” Bell said. “I’m ready to embark on a new journey in my career.
“Everybody can see the type of team they are comprised of with Justin Verlander, Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder. Plus, they signed Torii Hunter [on Wednesday]. Torii was a great friend when we were together on the Angels. He’s helped me with my career. I’ve never made a major league team out of spring training and I’m going to work extra hard.”
Bell, 26, went 4-8 with a 5.21 earned-run average in parts of three seasons with the Angels from 2009-11. Bell also spent time shuffling back and forth between Anaheim and the Bees, the Angels’ triple-A affiliate. He began the 2009 season in double-A before moving up to triple-A before being promoted by the Angels.
Bell’s first big league start came Aug. 12, 2009 at home against the Tampa Bay Rays and didn’t factor into the decision. He picked up his first major league victory in his next start against the Cleveland Indians.
At Crescenta Valley, Bell was a three-time Pacific League Player of the Year and a three-time All-CIF first-team honoree. He was a two-time All-Area Baseball Player of the Year and was the News-Press’ Male Athlete of the Year in 2005.
During his senior season, Bell hit .367 with eight home runs, 20 runs batted in and 20 scored. He finished with a 0.97 ERA and struck out 113 and walked 11 in 80 innings.