Miami Marlins closer Heath Bell on Tuesday backtracked on comments he made a day earlier about manager Ozzie Guillen, saying his words were misinterpreted.
Appearing Monday on Dan Sileo’s radio show on WQAM, Bell said of Guillen: “It’s hard to respect a guy that doesn’t tell you the truth or doesn’t tell you face to face. We need a guy that leads us and that everybody respects and looks up to.”
But he attempted to clarify those remarks Tuesday while speaking on the MLB Network Radio channel on SiriusXM.
“I was never criticizing Ozzie,” Bell told hosts Jim Duquette and Mike Ferrin. “I don’t think that’s what I was doing on the radio. I was choosing my words kind of right. Apparently I didn’t get it too right but the thing is I respect Ozzie as a manager.
“Sometimes it’s hard to respect a guy when he doesn’t tell you face to face and tells you in the media. And that’s basically what I said. I never said I don’t respect him as a manager or a person.”
Bell, who was 3-5 with a 5.19 ERA entering Tuesday, has been a disappointment in his first season with the Marlins after signing a three-year, $27 million deal. The team is expected to trade him after the season.
After Bell’s comments on Monday, several Marlins players who requested anonymity defended Guillen and said the controversial skipper has not lost control of the clubhouse. However, one described Guillen as “thin-skinned” and another said he can rub players the wrong way with his candor.
Said Bell on Tuesday: “I’ve had good managers, I’ve had bad managers and I don’t think Ozzie’s the reason why we really stunk this year. Did I say something I probably shouldn’t have? Yes, I did. I’m going to own up to it. But you know what? I’m not going to back down from anybody. Apparently I just have to keep my mouth shut.