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Julio is out

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The front office certainly hopes reliever Jorge Julio - who has been ineffective in each of his significant outings - turns out to be another success story.

But starting tonight in Atlanta, where the Marlins begin a three-game series, manager Fredi Gonzalez is preparing to give Julio a temporary new role, bringing him in earlier so he can concentrate on smoothing out his mechanics and delivery without ninth-inning pressure.

"If he wants to put me in the sixth inning, that's like a little break for me," said Julio, who added he expects to return to ninth-inning duty.

His struggles come as no surprise to one of his former catchers, who said this week that Julio is "by no means" the kind of reliever who sets down the opposition "one-two-three" in the ninth.

"I caught him last year, and I know that he has trouble at times throwing strikes,'' said Milwaukee Brewers catcher Johnny Estrada, Julio's batterymate with Arizona in 2006. "He's got a live arm and a very good fastball and a breaking ball, but he's kind of erratic. ...

Kind of erratic?  Okay.  There is no reason to kick someone when they're down.

If Julio can work himself back into the closer's role, fantastic.  I'm not going to hold my breath until/if that happens.  The club seems determined to have him be a part of the bullpen.  Fair enough.  But he does need to, at least, perform at the level of the other relief pitchers.

Oh, I can live with cardiac saves, as long as they turn into - you know, saves.

Julio is a member of the Marlins and I want all the Marlins to excel.  And he has a wonderful attitude about the demotion.  I like players who want to help the team whatever their role.  But if he can't and I hope he can - we know there is a guy down in Triple-A, that can do the job.