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Ozzie: Bell 'main guy' despite struggles

Ozzie: Bell 'main guy' despite struggles

Ozzie: Bell 'main guy' despite struggles
MIAMI -- Manager Ozzie Guillen has no doubt in Heath Bell's role as Miami's closer, and gave him another vote of confidence before Saturday afternoon's game. Even after another ninth-inning struggle by Bell on Saturday, Guillen reiterated that Bell is "the main guy" moving forward.

"He's our main guy and we're going to continue to give him opportunities to get the ball out there," Guillen said after Saturday's 5-3 win against the Giants. "The only way you're going to come out [of it] is pitching -- pitching and create confidence."

Less than 24 hours after Bell couldn't get out of the ninth in Friday's 7-6 win against San Francisco, Guillen stuck with his closer in a similar save situation Saturday, and once again Bell struggled to get outs.

With the Marlins up, 5-2, thanks to 7 1/3 solid innings from Mark Buehrle, Bell came on for the ninth and again failed to retire the leadoff hitter, surrendering a single to Angel Pagan. Bell then loaded the bases on back-to-back walks with one out, which prompted Guillen to pull him from the game.

"Same guy, same inning, with the seven, eight and nine hitters coming up and the same thing happens," Guillen said. "Wish he could've done a little bit better, but right now, it's not working."

While Steve Cishek cleaned up the mess Friday night to secure the win, lefty Randy Choate came in and retired the only two batters he faced to clinch the 5-3 win for Miami on Saturday.

Guillen's decision to pull Bell for the second time in a row came a day after Guillen expressed doubt in Bell's pitch selection during the ninth inning of the Marlins' eventual win Friday night.

"It makes you wonder," Guillen said. "I mean, what's he thinking? I don't blame him one bit, because he might've done it before, but you're up by three runs and the pitch selection, it was very poor."

Before Saturday's game, Bell remained confident in Friday's pitch selection, adding that he's "not going to be second-guessed," and that he was displeased with being pulled because he felt he could have gotten out of the situation.

"I'm going to go out there and do the best I can," Bell said. "I don't feel like I'm going to lose my job. The only thing I can say is, to his credit, I have not earned my right in a Marlins uniform to get myself out of the jam. I've gotten myself out of many jams in the past, but I haven't earned that right in a Marlins uniform yet."

Following Saturday's struggles, Guillen once again gave Bell a vote of confidence.

"I will take the heat if something goes wrong; I don't mind that," Guillen said. "But in the meanwhile, we got to get it done. I don't have any more bullets to protect him. ... The opportunities are there. We never take the ball away from him yet.

"We're a better ballclub with him up there and nobody's going to tell me any different. I'm still behind him."

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