"Kevin's going to be the guy who is going to be closing for
us," Gonzalez said Thursday night before the Marlins lost 4-3 to
the the Milwaukee Brewers. "I think he deserves that
The Marlins acquired Benitez, who saved a club record 47 games
for the Marlins in 2004, along with cash considerations from the
San Francisco Giants in exchange for reliever Randy Messenger.
"We'll sit down and talk to him," Gonzalez said of Benitez.
"Right now, Kevin has earned that opportunity [to close] and we'll
Gregg (0-2) has converted all six of his save opportunities --
five since May 16 -- and has not allowed an earned run since May 9,
a span of 11 appearances. The right-hander also had to deal with
back-to-back games where he was brought in with the bases loaded
against the Cubs.
Gonzalez said he's been impressed with Gregg's versatility,
having worked him in a variety of situations before Owens went on
the disabled list with right rotator cuff tendinitis on May 11.
"He's thrown in the middle of the game, he's thrown at the end
of games," Gonzalez said. "[Now] we've give him the opportunity
to close and he's closed ballgames out."
Both Owens and Gregg have been a significant upgrade to Jorge
Julio, who the Marlins had hoped would be the closer after saving
16 games with the Mets and Diamondbacks last season.
Julio spent time on the DL, went 0-2 with a 12.54 ERA in 10
relief appearances and was dealt to the Colorado Rockies on May 13
for another troubled pitcher, Byung-Hyun Kim.
Owens joined the Marlins along with reliever Matt Lindstrom from
the Mets in the offseason for left-handed pitchers Jason Vargas and
Owens rejoined the team in Milwaukee on Thursday and was
activated just before the game as the team optioned right-handed
reliever Lee Gardner to Triple-A Albuquerque.
Gonzalez said he wasn't sure if he'd use Owens right away, but
that his return bolsters a bullpen that has also gotten a lift from
Lindstrom, who took the loss on Thursday, in the setup role.
"For us, it only adds depth," Gonzalez said.