The Marlins removed Heath Bell from the closer role last week after he blew his fourth save in seven chances, but Ozzie Guillen already appears ready to give him another shot.
According to Joe Capozzi of the Palm Beach Post, after Guillen was asked this afternoon whether the next save chance would go to Steve Cishek, he strongly hinted that he will opt for Bell.
“No. Let’s put Bell back there to see what happens… That’s his job. And I like the way he has thrown the ball.”
Strong enough for you? Bell is apparently back in the good graces after tossing a scoreless 10th inning Wednesday against the Astros in his first appearance since being pulled from the closer role. While Guillen has left the door open for other options, he said that Bell is “our closer” and “deserves another shot.”
Bell, who signed a three-year, $27 million deal with the Marlins during the offseason, has an ugly 10.24 ERA and 7/10 K/BB ratio over 9 2/3 innings this season. His track record suggests there’s nowhere to go but up, but the 34-year-old right-hander had a career low strikeout rate (7.32 K/9) and swinging strike rate (8.3 percent) last year.
Jeff Passan of Yahoo has an interesting report today. MLB and Rawlings are developing a new baseball. It will have a tacky surface on the leather, allowing pitchers to get a better grip without having to resort to sunscreen and rosin and pine tar and stuff. Substances which, in theory, are for grip but which are really used by pitchers to doctor the ball, with MLB and opposing hitters mostly looking the other way.
They tested the new balls in the Arizona Fall League last year and Passan talks to a couple of the pitchers who used the ball. More testing would be required, though, so we’re not likely to see the new balls until at least 2018.
As you know, baseball players love change, so I’m sure we won’t hear another thing about the ball and its introduction will go off seamlessly.
Wait. It’ll still have seams. You know what I mean.
The first few days of spring training have been pretty quiet. Guys are going about their business and games are being played, but we haven’t had any news or controversy or silliness or anything fun like that. That’s about to change, however, as Tim Tebow has arrived at Mets camp.
Tebow, a non-roster invite, arrived at the Mets facility in Port St. Lucie, Florida this morning and, unlike every other non-roster invite, had a press conference. You may be surprised to learn that he’s in great shape, is excited to get going and wants to improve steadily each day.
The plan for Tebow is to be a part of the minor league camp, not the major league one, so he’s not going to be as visible at workouts as you might expect. He will be playing in some major league spring training games, however, at least until we get deeper into spring training, after which you’d assume that veterans and players with a real shot of making the big club will play longer.
In the meantime, you can buy Tebow shirts. But not Curtis Granderson ones, it seems: