Ozzie addresses Marlins before game in Philly
Suspended for Castro remarks, manager sorry he must be away
PHILADELPHIA -- Hurt and humbled, manager Ozzie Guillen addressed the Marlins for about 10 minutes on Wednesday afternoon before the team faced the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park.
Serving a team-levied five-game suspension, Guillen expressed regret and apologized to his players for his controversial comments that led to his disciplinary action.
"He knew exactly what he wanted to say," said bench coach Joey Cora, who is managing the club on a temporary basis. "He came right in at 4:15 [p.m. ET], and he let everybody know what happened and how he felt.
"Plus, they pretty much all saw the press conference. If they didn't see it, pretty much every time they put on ESPN, it was on every five minutes. Everybody knew what was going on. He talked from the heart. Hopefully he comes back on Tuesday and we're doing well and we keep on going."
The outspoken Guillen got in hot water over remarks he made about Fidel Castro in a Time magazine story.
"It's been tough. But he's OK," Cora said. "He feels very sorry that he's not going to be here for five days. He signed with the Marlins to manage the whole season. He really feels that he's let the team down because he's going to miss five days for something outside of the field.
"If it was a melee or an argument with an umpire -- baseball stuff -- maybe it would have been a little bit different. He feels like he's let the team down by missing these five games."
Guillen's remarks created an uproar in Miami. About 200 protesters were at Marlins Park on Tuesday, expressing their outrage during the manager's news conference.
When the suspension ends on Tuesday, expect the usually unfiltered Guillen to be more guarded with his comments, particularly if they are not baseball-related.
"Not on baseball stuff," Cora said. "He will keep talking about baseball stuff when he wants to talk about baseball stuff. Like if somebody tried to hit one of our guys, or something like that, he will say it like it is.
"The part that's going to change is when a subject like that [politics] comes up, he's not going to touch it, because it is what it is. We're baseball people, we're not politicians or nothing like that. We ought to stick to what we know best, and that's what he's going to do from now on."
During his brief visit on Wednesday, the Miami players clearly saw the pain their manager is going through.
"Baseball is baseball and outside stuff is outside stuff," closer Heath Bell said. "I think it's hitting him and his family really hard. It's one of those things. He's feeling really bad for what he did. You have to understand that we all make mistakes. I've said stuff I wish I could take back. I don't think he meant it in a bad way at all.
"The best thing he's doing is he's owning up to what he did. He feels really bad. He and his family have to deal through this tough time and move on, and we're going to go play baseball right now."
Left fielder Logan Morrison says the suspension and controversy aren't a distraction, and the team is focused on performing.
"It's not a distraction. It's not an excuse to go out and play [poorly]," Morrison said. "We've got to continue to go out there playing baseball.
"I don't see this as an adverse time for us. It's tough for him. We feel for him. We stand behind him. Other than that, the only adversity we face is facing Roy Halladay tonight. That's good enough for me."
Cora, a close friend of Guillen, has stepped in as manager before. While with the White Sox, he managed when Guillen was suspended a handful of times.
"He got hit pretty good. He felt it," Cora said. "But he's getting through it. He knows definitely that he made a mistake. He was very sincere. He's going to do anything, anything in his power to make it right. He knows it is going to take time. But eventually he's going to be all right. He's going to come back Tuesday and try to be the same guy he's always been, managing the game and being with the guys.
"I think he learned a lesson on this one. I'm pretty sure he's a better man today than he was yesterday. That's what I've been telling people, because he learned from this one. When you've learned from your mistakes, you become a better man."