Ozzie downplays psyche of struggling players
Manager preaches that Marlins should stop worrying, just produce on field
MIAMI -- If losing is getting into the heads of the Marlins, manager Ozzie Guillen suggests his players take a long look in the mirror.
Don't mention how a player's psyche is to the fiery Marlins manager.
"I don't believe in psyche," Guillen said. "I just believe in good clubs. Great players don't need psychiatry and psyche or a shrink. [Bad] players do. I never saw Pete Rose talking with any psychiatrist. Paul Molitor, and all those guys, they're talking with nobody. And all the [bad] players, they need a psychiatrist or a guy next to them to talk about it.
"The last five years, seven years, you see a lot of this in baseball. When players fail, they need a doctor. When managers or coaches fail, they need another manager. They get rid of our [butts] quick. Players are making an excuse with a shrink every day. How about an excuse when they're 4-for-4, they only got a shrink when they fail."
Laboring through a rough June has the Marlins searching for answers.
When the team won 21 games in May, they were loose, energized and just played.
"You've got to have fun," right fielder Giancarlo Stanton said. "If you go out there and get your butt kicked, you're not going to be happy. You're not going to be playing well. We've got to find some way to smile and have fun out of it, because if we come out here every day, and you're droopy and all that, it's just negative energy. It's not going to let you play better. You just have to find a way."
Even though they are in a rut, the Marlins remain in striking distance of the first-place Nationals in the National League East.
Stanton says it is crucial that the team doesn't get caught up in the negative.
"We have to stop worrying about it," the slugger said. "Don't let it get in your head, and have fun. Remember, it's a game that we're playing. It's not the end of the world, but at the same time, it can mess with you and get in your head and give you a hard time. You just have to have fun and ease the nerves."
To get mentally focused, Guillen remains bottom line -- stop worrying and produce.
"I grew up in a good era of baseball when Budweiser and vodka took care of the psychiatry thing," Guillen said. "That's the best thing. When you fail, come back the next day and see how good it feels."
Ruggiano garnering more playing time
MIAMI -- The more Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen sees of Justin Ruggiano, the more he likes the 30-year-old outfielder.
Acquired in a Minor League trade with the Astros on May 26, Ruggiano was promoted to the big leagues a day later, and he is starting to receive more playing time.
On Friday night, Ruggiano doubled and had two walks in the Marlins' 12-5 loss to the Blue Jays. Even though he lifted a foul popout in his final at-bat, he worked the count full.
"He gives you great at-bats," Guillen said. "He fights for his at-bats every time we give him an opportunity.
"As long as you do that, you will play for me, no doubt. I don't care if you're 0-for-4. As long as you fight for your at-bats and your situation, you have a great chance of playing for me."
The right-handed-hitting outfielder has mostly played against left-handed starters, and that is a reason he was in the lineup again on Saturday. Toronto went with southpaw Brett Cecil.
Ruggiano, who came up in the Rays' system, credits Tampa Bay executive vice president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman for changing his approach.
"I used to give away a lot of at-bats, and I think in the Rays' system, strikeouts are kind of frowned upon," Ruggiano said. "They're frowned upon anywhere, but it was something they wanted me to focus on, reducing them. For the longest time I couldn't figure out how, and it was frustrating.
"I think I came up with a pretty good idea of what works for me and how to stay on the ball longer. That's kind of what I was doing, coming off of it, and sometimes I revert back to it -- hitters go through that. But basically it's me trying to stay on the ball and use the whole field."
Long reliever Gaudin working long hours
MIAMI -- As the losses have piled up for the Marlins, so too have Chad Gaudin's innings.
With Miami's starters struggling at times to go deep into games of late, Gaudin has seen his time on the mound increase. After appearing in nine games and pitching 17 2/3 innings during the first two months of the season, the right-handed reliever has made eight appearances out of the bullpen and tossed 18 innings in June.
"He's got more innings than our starters the last couple weeks," Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen joked. "That's the way he is. This kid never complains, he goes out there and pitches."
Although the numbers aren't overly impressive in June -- a 7.00 ERA with 15 strikeouts compared to five walks -- Gaudin has saved the Marlins from overusing some of their other relievers and having to reach into the Minors for more bullpen help while the starting rotation has had its troubles.
"Recently they've had some struggles, but that's what I'm there for," Gaudin said. "I'm there to pick them up and keep the team close."
On Friday, Gaudin threw 1 2/3 scoreless innings after Anibal Sanchez was unable to get through the fourth inning against the Blue Jays. Gaudin struck out a pair and walked one, minimizing damage despite allowing two inherited runners to cross the plate in the fourth.
Due to his efforts this month, which include a pair of 4 2/3-inning outings, Gaudin has earned praise as somewhat of an unsung hero for the Marlins by Guillen.
"I'm here to get outs, regardless of when it is, where it is. That's my job," Gaudin said. "I pride myself in making myself available as much as possible."
Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro. Tom Green is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.