Bell eager to see All-Star Hoffman

Bell eager to see All-Star Hoffman

SAN FRANCISCO -- Padres closer Heath Bell was excited to hear that former teammate Trevor Hoffman, now with Milwaukee, was named to the National League All-Star team Sunday as an injury replacement.

Better still, it got Bell to thinking about a slight alteration on his reunion with Hoffman, the Major League career saves leader who signed with the Brewers during the offseason.

What if Bell, who spent 2007 and 2008 setting up Hoffman, had Hoffman setting him up for one night?

"I was thinking about that, if he pitches the eighth inning and I pitched the ninth inning," Bell said. "Actually, I wouldn't even mind if he got the save and I got to set him up. It would be like old times."

Either way, Bell, who has said on several occasions how much he learned from Hoffman, not just about closing games but handling the job and the media, is looking forward to seeing his old friend again.

The Padres have yet to face the Brewers, though they will host them for the first of three games at PETCO Park starting July 31.

Hoffman was named to the All-Star team Sunday as a replacement for Dodgers relief pitcher Jonathan Broxton, who felt discomfort in his big right toe Saturday.

Hoffman went into Sunday with a 1-1 record, 20 saves and a 2.05 ERA. He said Sunday that he was excited to see Bell make his first All-Star team.

"He's had a tremendous first half and he's very deserving of being able to go," Hoffman said. "He's been a huge part of the success that they've had, so it's a feather in his cap to be able to represent the Padres. It's kind of funny how things work out."

Bell went into Sunday's game against the Giants tied for the NL lead in saves with 23. He has a 3-1 record and a 1.49 ERA.

"It's cool," Bell said of getting to see Hoffman. "I'm going to take a picture with him, the best closer of all time and me ... up and coming," Bell said. "I miss him."

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