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05/06/2009 12:53 PM ET
Heath Bell named winner of the Major League Baseball Delivery Man of the Month award for April
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Heath Bell of the San Diego Padres has been selected as the winner of the Major League Baseball Delivery Man of the Month Award for April, it was announced today. This Major League Baseball award recognizes the most outstanding relief pitcher during each month of the regular season as voted on by a panel from Major League Baseball.

Bell converted all of his save opportunities in April as he registered a Major League-best total of eight saves in his nine games. In 8.2 scoreless innings of work, Heath allowed just four hits with two walks and nine strikeouts to help lead San Diego to an 11-11 start and a share of second place in the NL West. The 31-year-old right-hander held opposing hitters to a .143 batting average, and did not surrender a hit to a right-handed batter (0-for-11). In his season debut on April 7th against the Los Angeles Dodgers, Heath struck out the side and recorded his first save since August 29, 2007. Bell, who played for the New York Mets for three seasons from 2004-2006, collected the save on April 13th against the Mets in the first game played at Citi Field. The Oceanside, California native converted saves in three consecutive contests on an East Coast road trip from April 16thth-18 against the New York Mets and the Philadelphia Phillies, allowing just one hit with four strikeouts over 3.0 innings pitched. Bell, who pitched for Team USA in the 2009 World Baseball Classic, is in his third season with the Padres and his first as the team's closer. In 2008, Heath went 6-6 with a 3.58 ERA (31 earned runs / 78.0 inning pitched) in 74 appearances with 28 walks and 71 strikeouts.

Other relievers receiving votes included Ryan Franklin (0-0, 0.00 ERA, 7 SV, 10 G, 2 BB, 9 SO) of the Cardinals; Texas' Frank Francisco (1-0, 0.00 ERA, 6 SV, 10 G, 1 BB, 9 SO); and Jonathan Broxton (2-0, 0.82 ERA, 7 SV, 10 G, 4 BB, 19 SO) of the Dodgers.

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