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Breaks for the Stars

The bench players are going to get some love this year.

Hanley Ramirez and Miguel Cabrera missed a combined eight games last season, both appearing in 158 of 162. However willing they may be to start every game in 2007, manager Fredi Gonzalez said both can count on an occasional breather.

"I'm going to give them some mental breaks," Gonzalez said. "There may be a fight in the manager's office because they like to play. Not only for them, but you have to give your bench players some at-bats, too."

This is something I completely agree with.  Everyone on the team needs to be involved for it to succeed.  The Marlins have a decent bench and them filling in from time to time isn't going to hurt a thing.  And it may even help.  There is no doubt that Cabrera and Ramirez could play 162, but there isn't a need for them to do so.  Days off are a good thing, even if it is of the one day variety.  As a kid, I read a book about Willie Mays, which I remember to this day, and it said that every time Mays was given (read forced) a day off he came back more productive than before.

Now, that brings up the tricky part which Fredi is already aware of.

Gonzalez acknowledged that the tricky part is getting the timing of those breaks right.

The new off-day policy will work out just fine, it is just going to require some thought.