Fiery and controversial Miami Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen has brushed aside criticism from Marlins reliever Heath Bell, who said he doesn’t respect his skipper.
Guillen fired back, saying he doesn’t respect his player and accused Bell, who is having a horrendous season, of not taking responsibility for his struggles.
"It was my turn this week," Guillen told the Associated Press. “"Last week it was the pitching coach. The week before it was his teammates. Every week it's something. That's why I don't respect him as a person. You have to have principles."
Bell effectively called Guillen a liar during a radio interview Monday.
“It’s hard to respect a guy that doesn’t tell you the truth or doesn’t tell you face to face,” the relegated closer told “The Dan Sileo Show” in Miami, according to ESPN.com.
"It's just one of those things that -- what you see is what you get," Bell said. "I'm not going to be two-faced. I'm not going to sneak around your back and say this and that. We need a guy that leads us that everybody respects and looks up to. That's what we need."
Bell clarified his comments before the Marlins took on the San Diego Padres on Tuesday, saying they were taken out of context, although he said he wasn’t taking back his remarks.
"I'm not retracting anything, but I never meant to criticize Ozzie. Everything gets twisted,” he said, according to the AP. “"I'm not talking anymore. I didn't mean anything toward Ozzie. I wasn't talking about Ozzie."
Guillen said he was not surprised by Bell’s comments.
"I laughed," he said. "I have so (many) problems in my life with the ball club, to see why we failed -- comments like that, everybody has his own opinion. The thing that shocked me (is) when you say I'm not honest with players?"
Once among the favorites to compete for a National League East title, the Marlins have sputtered this season, so far going 66-88, good for last place and 27 games behind the NL East-leading Washington Nationals.
Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria splurged on his team in the offseason before Miami settled into its new stadium, acquiring shortstop Jose Reyes and pitchers Mark Buehrle and Carlos Zambrano. The team also traded for outfielder Carlos Lee.
Guillen commented on the team’s performance last week, which didn’t sit well with Loria.
“When you are in last place you need a better manager, better general manager, better owner, a better everything when you are a last-place team because we all failed,” Loria said, according to CBS Sports. “Whoever works for the Marlins and denies that he should be fired is full of (expletive)."
Guillen was on shaky ground with the club before the season began when he generated controversy for being quoted in Time magazine as saying, “I love Fidel Castro.”
"I respect Fidel Castro. You know why? A lot of people have wanted to kill Fidel Castro for the last 60 years, but that (expletive) is still here."
Miami has the largest concentration of Cuban immigrants in the United States and his comments angered the community, causing Guillen to hold a news conference in Spanish to apologize for the remarks.