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Tuesday, February 27, 2007
Girardi called Lieber with tip on pitches

Associated Press

JUPITER, Fla. -- Florida Marlins officials were unhappy to hear that their manager last year, Joe Girardi, gave rival pitcher Jon Lieber helpful tips during the season.

Lieber said his season with the Philadelphia Phillies turned around shortly after he was roughed up by the Marlins last July 31, and he credits a phone call from Girardi, a former major league catcher. They played together with the Chicago Cubs from 2000-02.

"He just mentioned that the hitters said everything that was coming in was just very flat," Lieber told the Philadelphia Daily News. "I wasn't on top of the ball like I should have been."

Both teams contended for the NL wild-card berth, and Lieber beat the Marlins twice in September.

Florida general manager Larry Beinfest declined to comment Tuesday, but another team official said the front office was angry about the matter. The official requested anonymity because Beinfest wouldn't comment.

There's no indication the front office knew last year about Girardi's conversation with Lieber. Girardi's relationship with management quickly soured in his only season with Florida, and he was fired in October -- then chosen NL Manager of the Year.

Marlins left-hander Dontrelle Willis shrugged off the comments about Girardi helping Lieber.

"What are you going to do now?" Willis said. "He doesn't even work here anymore. You can't dock his pay.

"I don't think it's a big deal. If we lost the wild card by two games, OK. But there are so many different other factors."

Left-hander Scott Olsen agreed.

"If you would have told me that last July when it happened, I probably would say a little more," Olsen said. "But it doesn't mean anything right now."

The Marlins finished 10 games behind NL wild-card winner Los Angeles and seven games behind Philadelphia.

Girardi's agent didn't return a call seeking comment.