Heath Bell Out As Marlins' Closer

Flushing, NY, USA; Miami Marlins relief pitcher Heath Bell stands on the mound with the bases loaded during the ninth inning against the New York Mets at Citi Field. Credit: Debby Wong-US PRESSWIRE

For now, anyway.

Wednesday, Marlins closer Heath Bell gave up runs for the fifth time in 10 outings. Manager Ozzie Guillen said he would stick with Bell.

Friday, Bell came in to pitch the ninth and protect a one-run lead over the Padres, but instead gave up two hits and walked two batters while giving up the lead. The Marlins wound up winning in the 12th -- thanks largely to Steve Cishek's three scoreless relief innings -- but Ozzie Guillen's seen enough for now. As The Palm Beach Post's Joe Capozzi reports, Heath Bell's been demoted, temporarily at least:

"I talked to Bell. We had a great conversation. He understands my point. I reminded him we are a better club with him as closer. Right now he is going through a tough time.

"Obviously, a combination of making bad pitches and not catching any breaks. That happens to the best…

"I like the way the ball is coming out his hands pretty well. But the location is not there.

"We are going to move him down maybe for a few days to get him back on track. But it’s not like removing him from his job. I made it clear to him.

Cishek's been the Marlins' best reliever, but has pitched a lot lately and reportedly won't be used again until Tuesday. Until then, the top candidates to protect late-inning leads are lefty Randy Choate and righty Randy Webb.

Considering Bell's three-year, $27-million contract, there will probably be some pressure on Guillen to get Bell back into the role for which he was signed.

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