Guillen giving Bell chance to succeed

Guillen giving Bell chance to succeed

Guillen giving Bell chance to succeed
CLEVELAND -- It wasn't an overpowering performance on Friday night for Marlins closer Heath Bell. But it was a significant one.

Bell's perfect ninth inning against the Indians at Progressive Field gave the veteran his first save since May 1.

He hasn't had many opportunities of late. His last save opportunity was on May 4 at San Diego, when he let a ninth inning lead slip away. Miami would win the game in 12 innings.

For the season, Bell has converted four of eight save opportunities.

After the missed opportunity in San Diego a few weeks ago, manager Ozzie Guillen considered other closer options. Steve Cishek had a chance at Houston on May 9 and he was unable to convert.

Edward Mujica, primarily the eighth-inning setup reliever, picked up saves on May 3 at San Francisco and May 6 at San Diego.

But rather than juggle closer candidates, Guillen is giving Bell every opportunity to get his season on track.

"I think it was good for us, it builds his confidence," Guillen said. "To me, it's more important for him right now. I have confidence in him. His teammates have confidence in him. His teammates have confidence.

"I think every time he has a good outing, his confidence is going to build. The only way you are going to maintain confidence and maintain that confidence is by pitching. I will give him every opportunity to get there. I will take my chances."

Bell's last two appearances have been clean innings on few pitches. He retired the side in order on 13 pitches in the ninth on Wednesday at Atlanta in a non-save situation.

On Friday at Cleveland, he needed 10 pitches to lock down the one-run save.

Pitch location has been key for Bell, who has gotten in trouble when falling behind in counts and leaving pitches up.

"I think I'm pretty much 96-97 percent where I think I should be," Bell said. "I just need to go out there and prove myself every time I pitch. Just go out there and battle, keep the ball down and make my pitches."