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Marlins to get help in second half

The SportsXchange

The Marlins are a team in chaos as they head into the second half of the season.

They are 41-44 and nine games out after losing 5-4 Sunday when closer Heath Bell suffered his sixth

blown save, allowing three runs in the bottom of the ninth inning.

Hanley Ramirez left the game in the sixth inning when he cut his hand open while punching a cooling fan

in the dugout after grounding out.

"You're going to hurt yourself because you can't hit? Good hitters don't do that. Good hitters battle

back and try to get better," said manager Ozzie Guillen.

"I don't pay attention to stupidity. That made me mad," he said. "That's very, I don't say very

unprofessional, but very childish. We're not kids. We're grown-up people. When you struggle and you are a

great player, you have to come back and try to (get) better and not just hurt the ball club.'"

It was a fitting end to the first half. The second half will start with Guillen giving serious thought

to removing Bell from the closer's role.

The Marlins were feeling pretty good about the second half of the season after acquiring slugger Carlos

Lee from Houston on July 5. The team regarded Lee as the missing link in an underachieving offense.

But that optimism quickly faded.

Just three days after the Lee trade, right fielder Giancarlo Stanton underwent arthroscopic surgery in

his right knee, which will keep him out about a month, if not longer. Now the Marlins must try to avoid

falling deeper out of the race until Stanton returns.

They'll need several players to step up, which might be too much to ask considering how many of them

have failed to perform to expectations this year. Miami will get help in the coming weeks with the return

of three players.

Center fielder Emilio Bonifacio, out since May 19 with a sprained left thumb, will join the team July

13. Right-hander Juan Carlos Oviedo will join the bullpen July 23 after serving an eight-week suspension

for identity fraud. Right-hander Edward Mujica, on the DL with a broken small right toe, will return after

the break.

It's doubtful the Marlins would do anything that would put them in the "sellers" category. This is the

first year in their new $515 million ballpark, and the last thing they want to do is alienate a fan base

that has grown numb to previous Marlins teams selling off players.

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