SAN DIEGO -- Consider Padres manager Bud Black a big fan of Marlins closer Heath Bell, unless Bell happens to be pitching in the ninth inning of a game this weekend. "When an opposing player is part of your past, it's a little different," Black said on Friday. Black would certainly know, as his first season as manager of the Padres (2007) was also the first one for Bell, who served as Trevor Hoffman's setup man for two seasons before following that up with three All-Star seasons as closer.
"He was jovial, he was loose, he was about the team -- not Heath," Black said. "I didn't have to worry about his heart and mind being in the right place." Former Padres general manager Kevin Towers got Bell from the Mets in the winter of 2006, the same winter the team hired Black. In his final three seasons with the Padres, Bell had 132 saves, the most of any pitcher in the Major Leagues over that time. "When Heath came here, he had a new lease on life," Black said. "We got a guy who had something to prove. And he proved it. I liked the day-to-day consistency he came to the park with." Bell signed a three-year deal in December with the Marlins worth $27 million. The Padres received two additional picks as compensation -- the 33rd and 70th selections in this June's First-Year Player Draft.