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Bell earns Delivery Man honors

Bell earns Delivery Man honors

Heath Bell, who has helped the San Diego Padres make a seamless transition from a future Hall of Famer to a new closer, is the April winner of the Major League Baseball Delivery Man of the Month Award.

Bell, a 31-year-old right-hander, could not have been any more of a lock in his first month in Trevor Hoffman's shoes. He not only converted all eight of his save opportunities, but pitched shutout, four-hit ball through his 8 2/3 innings.

The Delivery Man Award recognizes the most outstanding relief pitcher during each month of the regular season, as chosen by an MLB panel of voters.

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Bell's April highlights included striking out the side vs. the Dodgers in his April 7 season debut for his first save since Aug. 29, 2007, and collecting the save against the Mets on April 13 in the first regular-season game at New York's Citi Field.

Although Bell's month may appear to have been excellence without equal, he actually had a slew of comparably flawless closers to contend with for the award.

St. Louis' Ryan Franklin and the Dodgers' Jonathan Broxton, also newly-installed as their teams' closers, each posted seven saves. Additionally, Franklin didn't allow an earned run in 10 appearances, and Broxton added a 2-0 record and 0.82 ERA to his 10-game resume.

Also receiving serious consideration was Rangers closer Frank Francisco, who was 1-0 with six saves in 10 games in which he flaunted a 9-to-1 strikeouts-to-walk ratio.

Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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