Suspended Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen addressed his players in the clubhouse Wednesday, apologizing to the team for saying he admired Fidel Castro.
”There’s nothing he needs to apologize to us about,” Miami reliever Mike Dunn said. ”He’s our manager and we back him 100 percent.”
Guillen’s comments led to his five-game suspension that will start when Miami plays the Phillies in the second game of a three-game series. The Marlins, who opened a new ballpark last week and added several marquee free agents over the winter, are off to a 2-3 start.
”We’re not worried about it,” outfielder Logan Morrison said of the situation. ”We’re worried about winning games. It’s not a distraction.
”It’s not an excuse to play (poorly).”
Bench coach Joey Cora will be the interim manager. The Marlins conclude the series with Philadelphia on Thursday, before returning home to play Houston on Friday.
Guillen’s praise of the Cuban dictator in an interview with Time magazine outraged the Cuban-American community in Miami and led some politicians to call for his dismissal.
Guillen apologized over the weekend after his remarks were published, and called it the biggest mistake of his life at a news conference in Miami on Tuesday. He returned to Philadelphia afterward, but won’t be in the dugout Wednesday night.
The team didn’t consider firing Guillen or ask him to resign five games into his tenure, Marlins president David Samson said on Tuesday.
On Tuesday, Guillen said he doesn’t love or admire Castro.
”I was saying I cannot believe somebody who hurt so many people over the years is still alive,” he said.
Time said Tuesday it stands by its story.
Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig said the remarks ”have no place in our game” and were ”offensive to an important part of the Miami community and others throughout the world.”
”As I have often said, baseball is a social institution with important social responsibilities,” Selig added in a statement on Tuesday. ”All of our 30 clubs play significant roles within their local communities, and I expect those who represent Major League Baseball to act with the kind of respect and sensitivity that the game’s many cultures deserve.”