Guillen hoping for steady force in closer's role

Guillen hoping for steady force in closer's role

Guillen hoping for steady force in closer's role
MIAMI -- Two days removed from declaring Miami will use a closer by committee in the second half of the season, Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen was noncommittal about his closer situation on Thursday.

"I need to talk to [Heath Bell] and I haven't talked to my pitching coach yet," Guillen said before the team's off-day workout. "I'm going to talk to him, I'm going to see my options. We're going to see all our options and we're going to go by the option that's best for the team."

That option very well could be Bell, despite his first-half struggles, but Guillen wanted to discuss the situation before making any decisions about the Marlins' closer job.

Bell, who the Marlins signed to a three-year deal in the offseason, blew six saves in the first half and struggled in a handful of other games in which he wasn't credited with a blown save. On the year, Bell has 19 saves and is 2-5 with a 6.75 ERA, 32 strikeouts and 20 walks.

"I just got off of pitching my game," Bell said. "I was in my own head a bit, and I think the media and everything got into me. ... I've been having a tough year, but I'm not going to give up. I'm just going to keep going out there.

"Ozzie and I haven't talked, but I guess we're going to. ... The thing is, I want to win. I know Ozzie wants to win. He knows I'm a lot better than this and I know I'm a lot better than this. I think that's why it's frustrating for him and it's frustrating for me."

Guillen wants Bell to be the team's closer, and reiterated a point he has made countless times this season -- that he believes the team is better when Bell is the closer -- but the Marlins' manager didn't rule out other possibilities, namely lefty Randy Choate and righty Steve Cishek.

Bell said he would be upset if Guillen chose to go with a closer by committee, but understands that the move would be made because Guillen wants to win games.

The problem with using a reliever other than Bell, Guillen said, is the difficulty of having pitchers who aren't used to closing out games stepping into that role. Choate has just six career saves, with one this season and five in 2009. Cishek has just four career saves in his short career, including one save and three blown saves this season.

"I don't think Cishek can be the closer like that," Guillen said. "I don't think anyone in the bullpen can. I don't think they're bad, they just never did it. It's going to be tough for us to make a decision."

Regardless, Guillen hopes he can find one consistent closer as the team heads into the second half of the season. The Marlins' manager said this has been the toughest year of his career in terms of making decision out of the bullpen, but added he wants to enjoy the feeling former Yankees manager Joe Torre felt whenever he called upon Mariano Rivera to close out games.

"I want that to happen to me at least once this year," Guillen said. "Even when [Bell's] in the [expletive] game, I'm panicking. How about that? How about I get to feel like Joe Torre once -- not all year long -- just once this year. I want to feel like Joe Torre. I want to feel that one day. I'm not talking about two months, just one day. Please."

Tom Green is an associate reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.