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Guillen: Getting Oviedo back will be like 'biggest trade of the year'

ST. LOUIS -- A day after closer Heath Bell came dangerously close to blowing another lead in the ninth inning, Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen expressed his delight in the fact it won't be long before former closer Juan Carlos Oviedo is back with the team.

JC Oviedo"Biggest trade of the year," Guillen said when asked Saturday what it would mean to the team when Oviedo finishes serving his eight-week suspension for age and identity fraud on July 22nd.

"I will [treat] that as a big trade we make for the [playoff] run. He's going to help the bullpen. A day like today, he'll take Bell's spot. [Other times] we'll see how Bell's throwing and we'll flip flop each for whatever reason. It's going to be a big lift. Hopefully, he'll throw the ball like he has in the past."

Oviedo, who saved 92 games in three previous seasons for the Marlins when he was known as Leo Nunez, was scheduled to receive his first rehab assignment Saturday with Single A Jupiter. But that's been pushed back to Monday night because of a stiff neck The Herald learned.

Guillen has long said he'd keep Bell, who has converted 19 of 24 save opportunities, as his closer when Nunez returned. But it's clear after Saturday's comments Oviedo could put some heat on Bell, who signed a three-year, $27 million deal with the Marlins in the offseason, but has struggled.

Guillen said he might go see Oviedo pitch for Jupiter while the Marlins are off. The Hammerheads are scheduled to play in Fort Myers Monday night. Oviedo is expected to rejoin the Marlins on July 23rd.

> With Bell having pitched on four consecutive days, Guillen said he's giving him the day off Saturday. Guillen said right-hander Steve Cishek or left-handers Mike Dunn and Randy Choate could pitch the ninth today. Guillen said he would prefer to give Cishek the day off.

> A night after making the game-saving defensive play in the Marlins 3-2 win over the Cardinals, Omar Infante is also getting the day off to rest. That means 24-year old rookie Donovan Solano, who grew up in the Cardinals farm system, will get his first career start against his former team. Solano went 0-for-1 as a pinch hitter against the Cardinals when they faced the Marlins last month in Miami.

> Although his team has won 7 of 9 and has closed to within a game of .500, Guillen said he's disappointed with the Marlins' first half. 

"We're finishing a little strong," Guillen said. "But am I disappointed? Yes. I'm disappointed. I should be. We're a better club than we're playing. I didn't manage this club for .500. I think we're a better club than .500. We not playing up to the caliber we should be playing. A little inconsistent, a little weird first half, you can call it that.

"[But] I'm pretty sure having Carlos Lee here [for the second half] is going to help. He's a guy who is going to lead and a guy they're going to look up to, a guy who has been in this situation before. I don't know why I feel that way. I hope it happens. I'm not going to say Carlos is going to carry this ballclub, or put people under his wing. But having him in the middle of the lineup, having his presence in the clubhouse is going to help those guys."

> Guillen said when Emilio Bonifacio returns to the Marlins after the All-Star Break, it's likely he'll return to the bottom third of the order. "I think I'm going to keep him low so we can get more speed in the bottom," Guillen said. "I think we're a little bit too slow in the bottom of the lineup."

Bonifacio has played in three games for Jupiter since returning from thumb surgery and is 1-for-7 with two walks, two strikeouts and two stolen bases.

> As far as outfielder Justin Ruggiano is concerned, Guillen continues to insist he will continue to get playing time when Bonifacio returns.

"If he continues to swing the bat like that and I bench him I shouldn't have a job. Fire me," Guillen said. "I'll try to find him a spot to play. Boni can play a little bit of second base, can play center field. We can move him around. We got to start thinking about [Giancarlo] Stanton and [Logan Morrison]. It's time to give them a couple days rest, too."

Ruggiano, who entered Saturday's game on a nine-game hitting streak and with a .411 average, five homers and 15 RBI since June 1, said he'll do whatever the team asks of him.

“I’m not going to be a selfish teammate,” Ruggiano said. “I want whatever is best for the team. It’s [Guillen]’s call and I’ll obviously support whatever Ozzie wants to do.”

> After seeing his average dip to .224 on June 26, Morrison has been swinging as hot a bat as anyone for the Marlins. He came into Saturday's game having hit in nine consecutive games (.444) with four homers and 11 RBI.

Morrison, who has played with an ailing right knee all season, was hit by a pitch in his calf and by another pitch on his ankle Friday. He also said he injured his right hand trying to make a diving catch on a sinking liner by Carlos Beltran in the fifth inning.

"I think I hyperextended a finger or something like that. But I'll be fine," Morrison said.

Guillen praised Morrison’s grit Friday. “Lomo is crazy or he loves baseball that much,” Guillen said. “He’s been playing in pain the whole season.”

As for his hitting, Guillen credited hitting coach Eduardo Perez for Morrison's improvement.

"I think Lomo has been more aggressive, pulled the ball a little bit more," Guillen said. "Now he doesn't have the mentality of a leadoff hitter. That's what I thought he was -- Lomo was a No. 6, 7 hitter who acted like leadoff hitter. He was trying to hit the ball to left field, looking for a great count to hit, looking for a perfect pitch. Now, I think Eduardo has tried to get him to swing the bat as a No. 6, No. 7 guy. He's 200 pounds. Drive the ball. He's doing it right now."

SATURDAY'S LINEUPS

> Marlins (41-42): 1. Jose Reyes SS, 2. Hanley Ramirez 3B, 3. Carlos Lee 1B, 4. Giancarlo Stanton RF, 5. Logan Morrison RF, 6. Justin Ruggiano CF, 7. Donovan Solano 2B, 8. Brett Hayes C, 9. Carlos Zambrano RHP.

> Cardinals (44-40): 1. Rafael Furcal SS, 2. John Jay CF, 3. Matt Holliday LF, 4. Carlos Beltran RF, 5. Allen Craig 1B, 6. David Freese 3B, 7. Skip Schumaker 2B, 8. Tony Cruz C, 9. Kyle Lohse RHP. 

Comments

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Alex

Yeah, it will be nice getting another hard throwing arm in the bullpen when Oviedo returns. But let's not get carried away, ok? Let's not forget that in past years Oviedo was just as bad as Bell. In fact, one of the reasons we got Bell was because of all the failures of Nunez-Oviedo!

Fan Graphs

Agreed...dont count on Nunez to be anything but he was in the past

Alex

Lomo's near injury in left field yesterday is just one more reason he shouldn't be playing LF, as I have said since LAST YEAR. Not only did he fail to make the catch, he damn near broke his wrist. If a ball is hit at Lomo, he's ok, he will catch it, but if he has to go back and leap or come in and dive, forget about it.

Baseball Stats

Lomo is not a good fielder ,wherever he plays. He is suited for the AL as a part time DH and position player, for about 120 games a season.

Alex

Maybe not, but you can hide a guy better at 1st base than in LF.

Maybe So

Lomo looked like a clumsy oaf playing 1st, almost got beaned by Stanton on a throw once. He's a defensive liability when he steps on the field. You can only hide him in the dugout ,the ball will always find him.

Alex

Wow, Reyes picked off 1st base AGAIN. Didn't even move. Where the hell is head? Not in the game!I have no idea what Stan M sees in the kid. He has been playing very poorly. The other day he forgot to cover second base, he gets picked off a LOT, his errors continue to grow. With him and Hanley stinking up the top of the order, what's the point of having a run producer like Lee batting 3rd? He will be coming to bat with NOBODY ON BASE.

Big Talk No Action

If Boni gets hot right away when he comes back.does anybody think Ozzie has the balls to move Boni back to 2nd and Hanley down in the order. Answer .Hell No.

Alex

Reyes and Hanley are killing this team right now. Just pathetic. Hanley batting 2nd is pure STUPIDITY on Ozzie's part. The #2 hitter has to be the TOTAL OPPPOSITE of Hanley. He has to be an unselfish hitter willing to take pitches, draw walks, move runners along by hitting the other way; the #2 hitter needs to not strike out and not pop up. This takes Hanley out of the running as a #2 hitter.

Alex

Too bad Ozzie didn't start Ruggiano back in May; we might not have gone through that June Swoon. Kid is unbelievable. Two more hits today. The hilarious thing is hearing some clown say "he'll soon go back to what he always was". The problem with that stupid statement is that he never "was" ANYTHING before in the major leagues. He had a couple of cups of coffee with the Rays where he got into a few games here and there, but that's it. He NEVER had a real shot at playing every day, so he has no "track record" to "go back to". For all we know, THIS is Ruggiano's "usual", LOL.

Of course I don't think the kid will be a .400 hitter. But he certainly appears to be a good hitter, and one with serious POWER, a guy who can probably hit 25-30 HRs a year given regular playing time. Some of his HRs have been real blasts.

jimmy the geek

Until they figure out how to get Ruggiano out he'll keep hitting. When they figure out how to get him out, and they will, if Ruggi adjusts he'll keep hitting .If not ,he wont.

Alex

Wow Jimmy! Thanks for sharing that! I've only been following baseball for 50+ years and until you posted that I had no clue about adjustments by pitchers & hitters! You really need your own column here, so that we can learn more great things like that.

jimmy the geek

Who cares how long youve been following anything

jimmy the geek

By the way..I do have my own column and Web Site. It cost $$$ to get it and we quickly exclude know-it-all,overbearing people like yourself from sharing ideas with fellow hard core analytical MLB followers who derive income from our insight. I personally attend games and have seen every MLB team play over the pastcouple years,not in the cheap seats or luxury box ,but always in the same place ,between home and first about 20 rows up.

Alex

LMAO...too bad! I was just going to send you a check for THOUSANDS of dollars to be able to get such brilliant gems from your website! Oh my God, my sides are hurting from laughing so much! Every time so clown like you STARTS BRAGGING like that, one thing is definite: it's really some 15 year old pimple faced kid on his mommy's laptop. You never sit in the cheap seats, eh? What a Big Willy you are! Tell us more about yourself, Geek. I wanna hear about the supermodels who sit with you and the private jets you use to fly to all these ballparks! Great name, by the way, GEEK! Fits you well.

Alex

"fellow hard core analytical MLB followers who derive income from our insight."

LMFAO!!!!!! Is that what you call yourself? A "hard core analytical MLB follower"? Oh my God, I'm gonna bust a gut laughing here! Where did you get your degree in "MLB Following"? Yale? Harvard?

The internet is awesome! Any body cane POSE as ANYTHING, but the best part is watching them EXPOSE THEMSELVES FOR WHAT THEY REALLY ARE! Hilarious!

Alex

Ok, you guys, that does it. I'm gonna become a HARD CORE MLB FOLLOWER! I want to derive a lot of INCOME from the "insights" of my fellow HARD CORE MLB FOLLOWERS. We have our own website and everything! A secret handshake and really cool varsity jackets like the jocks wore in high school. We couldn't wear them because we were GEEKS, but now we got a lot of INCOME so we can buy them!

Here, let me give you an example of one of these INSIGHTS. Pitchers will adjust to Ruggiano. Then either he will adjust to them...OR he won't. There. Now send me some money, damnit! I got jackets to buy!

Alex

And one more thing: I PERSONALLY attend games! That's right, IN FREAKING PERSON! How do you think I get all these INSIGHTS? There are these SPECIAL SEATS (you guys don't know about this!) that are always in the same place between home and first about 20 rows up. You sit there and BOOM! You get INSIGHTS! And if you're really SMART, you can SHARE these insights with other HARD CORE MLB FOLLOWERS and derive a lot of INCOME. But only IF we let you into our website!

Go Away Old Man

Your a fuckkkkiiinnngg idiot

Alex

Awwwww...does this mean I DON'T get a jacket? LMFAO

john Rapko

Heath Bell should be NL MVP......how many games will he win for the Marlin's opponents when he pitches to "save" games?

john Rapko

And GAOM, "your" should be "you're" which is a contraction of "you" and "are". Who knew.....baseball AND a grammar lesson!

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