Padres Ring the Bell

Heath Bell, who will replace Trevor Hoffman as the San Diego Padres' closer, avoided salary arbitration Tuesday when he agreed to a one-year contract worth $1,255,000.

Bell became San Diego's closer when Hoffman, baseball's career saves leader, agreed to a $6 million, one-year deal with the Milwaukee Brewers last week.

Bell appeared in a staff-high 74 games in 2008, going 6-6 with a 3.58 ERA and earning $420,000.

He has two career saves. Hoffman has a record 554 saves.

"I can prove to the major leagues and everybody else that I can close and I can be a closer to be reckoned with in the league," Bell said. "I'm going to come into spring and try to set the tone. One of my goals this year is to get our bullpen back to where it was, a force to be reckoned with."

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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