Ozzie to use Bell in role other than closer

SAN DIEGO — Until Heath Bell gets back on track, the Marlins plan on going with other options at closer.

Manager Ozzie Guillen and pitching coach Randy St. Claire sat down on Saturday afternoon with Bell, discussing the options.

For now, the All-Star right-hander likely will pitch in the sixth or seventh innings until he regains his form.

“We’re going to move him down for a few days to get him back on track,” Guillen said before the Marlins faced the Padres on Saturday night. “It’s not like we’re removing him from his job. I made it clear to him that if we’re going to be the club we should be, it’s easier for him to be where he’s supposed to be.”

Will Bell next pitch in the sixth or seventh inning?

“Whatever inning we think will be the best for him,” Guillen said.

Bell suffered his fourth blown save in seven chances on Friday night. The right-hander is going through a difficult stretch with command of his pitches. He’s also not had many breaks.

“I talked to Bell. We had a great conversation,” Guillen said. “He understands my point. We are a better pitching club with him to be the closer. Right now, he’s going through a rough time. It’s a combination of making bad pitches to not catching any breaks. That’s going to happen. It happens to the best.”

Steve Cishek is the frontrunner to pick up the closer role, but the right-hander threw three innings on Friday. He won’t be available at least until Tuesday at Houston.

On Saturday, Guillen is leaning towards using Ryan Webb or Randy Choate in the role.

Joe Frisaro

 

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