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Bell's wife soothes his soul with Facebook note

       Pitching coach Randy St. Claire worked on Heath Bell's mechanics. The closer's wife worked on his psyche. Bell hopes the combination of the two gets him back on track on the mound, where he's struggled, to say the least.

        Bell has given up eight hits and walked three in just three innings of work. He's also blown his only two save opportunities. After the second of those ninth-inning collapses on Saturday, his wife Nicole figured it was time to act. She wrote her husband a letter on Facebook offering encouragement.

        "It was inspiring, about how far I've come, how far we've come as a couple, where our daughter has come from because our daughter has Down's syndrome," Bell said. "Our first home was a mobile home, and I spent so many years in the minors. She was, like, 'Look how far we've come. Don't worry about all the other stuff that's going on. You've overcome so many things. Don't let this get you.'"

        Bell said his wife watched Saturday's game from the family home in San Diego.

        "She couldn't sleep and wrote it at 3 o'clock in the morning Sunday San Diego time," Bell said. "It was about the things we've overcome the last 11 years of marriage, and life, and kids. It really got me thinking. It was 'You'll overcome this. You've always been a hard worker and you'll figure it out.'"

        Bell thinks that, with the help of St. Claire and catcher John Buck, he's worked out a mechanical flaw in his delivery that's caused his fastball to be flat and remain up in the zone.

        "I figured out what the problem was," Bell said. "My fastball hasn't been down all spring training and everybody was saying don't worry, it's spring training, you'll figure it out. Well, it's not spring training anymore and it's still not down. My pitches were flat. Now they've got the tilt. If I'm blessed to pitch tonight, you'll see the tilt and that I'm down in the zone and dominating again. I guarantee it."

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        Ozzie Guillen's juggled the lineup on his first day back from his five-game suspension, dropping Giancarlo Stanton from the cleanup spot to the six hole and putting Logan Morrison in the fourth spot.

         "I moved Stanton a little bit just to make him relax a little bit and take advantage of LoMo the way he's swinging the bat right now," Guillen said. "Hopefully, pretty soon, we move those backs where they should be."

         Stanton is hitting .229 and doesn't have any home runs. Morrison is hitting .320, and Guillen says he gives "lefty protection" in the lineup for Hanley Ramirez.

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         How glad is Guillen that his suspension is over and he doesn't have to watch the games on TV anymore?

         "Very painful, even the ones we win," Guillen said of the TV watching experience. "There's nothing worse than watching baseball from the couch, when you're supposed to be on the field, and next to your wife (instead of) the coaches. My wife don't help me one lick. I wish I was with the coaches to help me a little about the situations."

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          Lineups:

          Marlins: 1. Reyes, ss; 2. Bonifacio, cf; 3. Ramirez, 3b; 4. Morrison, lf; 5. Infante, 2b; 6. Stanton, rf; 7. Sanchez, 1b; 8. Buck, c; 9. Johnson, p.

          Cubs: 1. DeJesus, rf; 2. Barney, 2b; 3. Castro, ss; 4. Soriano, lf 5. Stewart, 3b; 6. Clevenger, c; 7. LaHair, 1b; 8. Byrd, cf; 9. Dempster, p.

          Umpires: HP -- D.J. Reyburn,; 1B -- Brian O'Nora; 2B -- Alfonso Marquez; 3B -- Tom Hallion.

 

 

 

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