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The Early Lead
Posted at 05:24 PM ET, 09/24/2012

Marlins reliever Heath Bell critical of Ozzie Guillen


Heath Bell is no longer a ninth inning mainstay. (Wilfredo Lee - AP)
The Miami Marlins entered the 2012 season with a new name, a new logo, a sparkling new stadium, a fiery new manager and a roster loaded with big-name and big-money free agent acquisitions.

Their 2012 campaign will end with a third straight losing season, a roster missing several of its opening day starters and a boatload of pent up frustration.

In a Monday radio interview, deposed Marlins closer Heath Bell discussed the disappointing season — which included his removal from the closer’s role in April — and took a few shots at the managerial style of mercurial skipper Ozzie Guillen.

“It’s been an interesting year with Ozzie,” Bell said in an appearance on “The Dan Sileo Show” on 560 WQAM in Miami.

“It’s hard to respect a guy that doesn’t tell you the truth or doesn’t tell you face-to-face,” he said later, after initially declining to elaborate. “There’s probably reasons why.”

The Marlins signed Bell to a three-year, $27 million contract over the winter with the expectation that he would continue to be one of the National League’s top closers. But the 34-year-old has converted only 19 of 26 save opportunities this season and owns a 5.19 ERA.


Ozzie Guillen is not worried about his job security. (Marc Serota - Getty Images)
He blew three of five save chances in April and two more in July, when he lost the job for good. Bell has been much better in September, allowing only five hits and one run with 11 strikeouts in 10 appearances.

“I stunk in April, plain and simple,” Bell said. “I said I stunk, I worked hard, I busted my butt. I think I’ve had a tremendous second half. I’m not closing — I know that. But I just kept my mouth shut because I want to regain what I had, and I feel like I can’t do that.”

On Sunday, Guillen told Fox Sports Florida that he stands by his decision to replace Bell with Steve Cishek as the team’s closer, but said Bell would be given the chance to reclaim the role next season.

Of Friday, Guillen literally laughed off rumors that the Marlins may fire him.

“Ha. Ha. Ha,” he said. “That’s the last thing going through my mind every day, if I’m going to have a job next year. I’m going to have a job. I don’t know if it’s managing the Marlins, but I will have a job. I don’t know if it’s managing in the big leagues, but I will have a job.”

(via SI.com)

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By  |  05:24 PM ET, 09/24/2012

 
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