Marlins sticking with Heath Bell

Updated: May 2, 2012, 4:24 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

SAN FRANCISCO -- Ozzie Guillen is going to give the struggling Heath Bell every opportunity to keep the closer job for the Miami Marlins.

And Bell is starting to feel like his old dominant self again after some rough appearances.

"It's not going to happen overnight, and it hasn't happened," Bell said Tuesday. "I feel closer to the coaching staff than I did two weeks ago, I feel closer to the training staff and the players than I did two weeks ago. That's a big part, too. Coming in, everybody goes, 'Oooh, you're Heath Bell the All-Star closer.' Now I'm just a Marlins closer, that's it. That's what I want to be."

Bell
Bell

As Guillen says he will do at every position on his underachieving club, he will consider a change soon if Bell doesn't get back on track. After getting tagged for two runs in a non-save situation in the ninth inning of Miami's 9-5 home loss to the Diamondbacks on Monday, the burly right-hander entered Tuesday 0-3 with a 10.80 ERA with two saves and three blown saves in eight appearances spanning 6 2/3 innings. Bell, however, pitched a 1-2-3 ninth Tuesday for his third save as the Miami beat San Francisco 2-1.

"Plain and simple, it shows the confidence that Ozzie and the coaching staff have that it will turn around for me," Bell said after the victory. "I think that's why they put me out there."

"He has to make an adjustment," Guillen said before the game. "He's our closer. We have a better ballclub when Heath Bell is in the closer's spot. If this kid continues to struggle then we have to do something different, something I don't want to do but on the other hand I have to do it. We're desperate for wins."

The 34-year-old Bell, who received a three-year $27 million contract with the big-spending Marlins in December, had 40-plus saves each of the past three seasons with the San Diego Padres, including 43 in 48 chances last year with a 2.44 ERA. He leads the majors with 135 saves over the past three-plus seasons.

Bell threw 46 pitches and walked four in the ninth inning of a 3-2 loss to the Mets in New York on Thursday as the Marlins dropped their fifth straight.

Bell acknowledged he got away from his "Mr. Positive" persona that defined him during his tenure in San Diego. He has turned to his faith over the past week to get back on track mentally because he has been "the farthest thing from positive."

"I came in and just had some issues and I kind of fell into a trap of not being me," Bell said. "Definitely, I want to do more, I want to impress. I don't think it was just that. Now I'm starting to really feel like just me."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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