Bell welcomes Marines with softball game

Bell welcomes Marines with softball game

SAN DIEGO -- Padres closer Heath Bell celebrated Memorial Day by hosting a group of Marines -- the Wounded Warriors -- in a pickup softball game at PETCO Park.

A softball field was set up in the outfield, where Marines and their families got the chance to play and have a barbecue with Bell and other Padres -- including Clayton Richard, Chase Headley, Sean Gallagher, Chris Young (who did not play) and team president and CEO Tom Garfinkel.

"We're just trying to help them along in times of need," Bell said. "They have the thankless job of the country, and the Padres try to thank them every chance we get. It's a great feeling just to get back out there and mess around with the guys -- and see how happy they were to be on a Major League baseball field."

Memorial Day has special meaning to Bell, as he is the son of a Marine and considered joining before his professional baseball career took off.

"The Marines have always been really close to my heart," Bell said.

And for the record, Bell went 2-for-2 with a home run in the contest.

"[The Padres] should have me hit," Bell joked. "Naturally, I'm a pitcher, so I want to hit. I wasn't trying to crush [the ball on the home run]. It just happened to go."

About 200 Marines were expected to be in attendance for the Padres' series opener against the Mets.