SAN DIEGO -- Heath Bell blew one save too many, and the decision was finally made on Saturday to relieve him of the closer's role, if only for the time being. One night after Bell blew his fourth save in a game the Marlins eventually won in the 12th, manager Ozzie Guillen and pitching coach Randy St. Claire sat down with Bell on Saturday to break the news.
"We're going to move him down, maybe for a few days, to get him back on track," said Guillen, explaining that he intends to use Bell in non-save situations until he shows he's ready to reclaim his old job. "It's not like I'm removing him from his job. We're going to come up with something positive for him to resolve the problem."
That means Bell will most likely be used in early or middle relief -- "whatever the inning we think would work for him," Guillen said.
Bell's latest meltdown set off a chain reaction of events that essentially taxed the bullpen to the point that the Marlins had to reach into their minor league system and call up two relievers on Saturday -- right-handers Sandy Rosario and Chris Hatcher -- from Triple A New Orleans. Outfielder Bryan Petersen and left-handed reliever Dan Jennings were optioned to New Orleans to make room.
Guillen said he is leaning toward having Steve Cishek take over the closer's role. But because Cishek went three innings on Friday and two on Wednesday, Guillen said he'll be unavailable the rest of the Padres series and perhaps the first game of the Houston series on Monday.
The moves leave Guillen one position player short on his bench. But the manager said Carlos Zambrano could serve as a pinch-hitter, if necessary.
Marlins: 1. Reyes, ss; 2. Bonifacio, cf; 3. Ramirez, 3b; 4. Kearns, lf; 5. Infante, 2b; 6. Stanton, rf; 7. Sanchez, 1b; 8. Buck, c; 9. Buehrle, p.
Padres: 1. Denorfia, rf; 2. Guzman lf; 3. Headley, 3b; 4. Hundley, c; 5. Alonso, 1b; 6. Hudson, 2b; 7. Maybin, cf; 8. Bartlett, ss; 9. Richard, p.