04/02/12 10:59 PM ET
Ozzie pleased with first spring at Marlins' helm
By Joe Frisaro / MLB.com
The Marlins wrapped up their exhibition schedule on Monday night with a 5-2 loss to the Yankees at Marlins Park.
After spending six weeks at the team's Spring Training complex in Jupiter, Fla., and two exhibitions at their new home against the Yankees, the Marlins are set for the regular season.
Overall, Ozzie Guillen's first spring managing the Marlins was a success.
The team avoided major injuries, and for the most part, performed at a level better than their 11-14 Grapefruit League record.
Facing the high-powered Yankees on back-to-back days gave a regular-season feel for the final two exhibition games.
"I think the last spring game was two days ago, when we were in Jupiter," Guillen said, alluding to facing the Mets on Saturday at Roger Dean Stadium. "Here, I treat these games like real games.
"Obviously, it does not mean anything for any team. But when you play in front of your crowd, and there a lot of people here, and you're in the ballpark you're going to play in all summer, you feel like you've already started."
Marlins right-hander Carlos Zambrano was wild, walking seven, in his final Spring Training start.
"Not too good," Guillen said. "He walked seven guys, all lefties. Last time he pitched, against the Astros, he was a little wild. Maybe it was because new ballpark, facing New York, packed house, first time here. I still believe he is throwing the ball pretty well. The ball coming out of his hand, this kid is throwing the ball by people. There is no doubt, he has to throw more strikes. He's got to be better with lefties."
Zambrano, the Marlins' fourth starter, logged 21 2/3 innings in the spring. Most of all, he is pleased that he made it through Spring Training healthy and he's ready to go.
"My arm felt good," Zambrano said. "The most important thing in Spring Training is working on your arm and your body. That is what I did. I built my arm for the season, and I'm ready now."
The season gets going for real on Wednesday when the Marlins take on the Cardinals.
"The real thing starts in a couple of days. I think the team is ready to go," Guillen said. "They're very enthusiastic. I love the way they played in Spring Training. I love the way they went about their business. I think everybody should be ready."
Since the start of Spring Training, the Marlins have had their share of fun. But they've also taken their business seriously.
After adding All-Stars Jose Reyes, Heath Bell, Mark Buehrle and Zambrano, the Marlins feel they have the pieces to contend in the National League East.
Guillen pledges to make sure the team doesn't lose sight of the fact the Marlins are expecting to win.
"They're getting paid a lot of money to perform," Guillen said. "If they cannot play, somebody will play. They make the lineup. I write it down, and [bench coach] Joey Cora prints it. That's what we do here. If you play good, you make the lineup. If you do not play good, somebody will make the lineup. We'll put in somebody else. This is not an easy job."
Guillen's style is to communicate with the players and get the most out of them. But he makes it clear, he isn't around to babysit.
"My job is, I want to get the best out of my players," he said. "I will expect the best out of my players every day. I will have fun with my players. But if you don't perform and you don't play the way you should be playing, I don't care who you are. I don't care if you're Reyes, [Hanley] Ramirez, [Emilio] Bonifacio or anybody.
"If I don't think you play with the respect you should be playing with, you're not playing. That's easy. That's the bottom line. Like I say, all of my players, I respect. I have great communication, but I have a job to do. My job is to make sure those guys go out there and respect the game, respect the fans."