Heath Bell out as Marlins closer

Heath BellAs Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen's earlier comments portended, Heath Bell is out as Marlins closer, at least for the time being.

On Friday night, Bell blew his fourth save in seven chances, and he's given up at least one run in six of his 11 appearances this season. His ERA for 2012 stands at 11.42. As CBSSports.com senior columnist Scott Miller has observed, there are no easy fixes for Bell.

Needless to say, Bell's awful pitching in high-leverage situations is taking a toll on the Marlins and their hopes for contention. And now Guillen has made a change. Joe Capozzi of the Palm Beach Post reports that Bell will no longer close for the Marlins, but Guillen stresses that it's a temporary change. “I talked to Bell," Guillen said. "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."

Asked who would work the ninth on Saturday night, Guillen quipped: "Mark Buerhle. Making all that money? Earn your money today. Go all nine innings."

As we pointed out earlier this season, Bell's struggles aren't exactly surprising. Just because Bell has a large contract doesn't mean you stick with him regardless of the depths of his performance, and Guillen seems to realize this. So don't be surprised if, say, Edward Mujica settles into the closer's role for the time being. 

Read more here: http://miamiherald.typepad.com/fish_bytes/2012/05/marlins-facing-decisions-as-johnson-bell-falter-again.html#storylink=cpy

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CBS Sports Writer

Dayn Perry has been a baseball writer for CBS Sports since early 2012. Prior to that, he wrote for FOXSports.com and ESPN.com. He's the author of three books, the most recent being Reggie Jackson: The... Full Bio

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