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Twins bench coach Mike Bell dies of cancer at 46

Twins Bell Baseball
FILE – This is a 2020 file photo showing Mike Bell of the Minnesota Twins baseball team. Twins bench coach Mike Bell has taken an indefinite leave from the team because of kidney cancer. The 46-year-old Bell had surgery to remove the growth on Jan. 28, shortly after being diagnosed. He’s been recovering at home with his family in Arizona. “He’s also very, very optimistic and also very encouraged and waiting for his return to the dugout,” manager Rocco Baldelli said Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2021. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson, File)

The Twins announced that bench coach Mike Bell died of kidney cancer on Friday. He was 46.

Bell, who became Rocco Baldelli’s bench coach last season after spending 13 years with the Arizona Diamondbacks organization, is the son of former big-league player and manager Buddy Bell. His grandfather, Gus, played 15 years in the major leagues and his brother, David, is entering his third season as the Cincinnati Reds’ manager after playing 12 years in the majors.

Mike Bell, a first-round pick of the Texas Rangers in 1993, played parts of 13 seasons (1993-2005) with seven organizations and made his big-league debut on July 20, 2000 with Cincinnati. He hit two home runs and drove in four runs in 19 games.

Bell had a tumor found in his kidney after becoming sick in January. He underwent surgery and remained at his home in Arizona as the Twins began spring training in Fort Myers, Fla.

“The Minnesota Twins are devastated by the loss of Mike Bell,” the team said in a statement. “In his short time with our club, Mike had an indelibly positive impact – not only on the quality of our team on the field, but most importantly upon everyone whom he met. Widely respected in our game, all who knew Mike, on and off the field, are better for the experience. The Twins join the baseball world in mourning Mike’s untimely passing; our thoughts and best wishes are with his wife, Kelly, his three children, Luke, Mikayla and Madeline, and the entire Bell family during this difficult time.”

Bell was the vice president of player development (2017-19), director of player development (2011-16), minor league field coordinator (2010) and a minor league manager for three seasons (2008-09 at Single-A Visalia and 2007 at Short-A Yakima) during his time with the Diamondbacks.

The Twins announced they will play their spring training game on Friday against Atlanta at the request of the Bell family in order to honor Mike.