Lieber said his season with the Philadelphia Phillies turned
around shortly after he was roughed up by the Marlins last July 31,
and he credits a phone call from Girardi, a former major league
catcher. They played together with
the Chicago Cubs from 2000-02.
"He just mentioned that the hitters said everything that was
coming in was just very flat," Lieber told the Philadelphia Daily
News. "I wasn't on top of the ball like I should have been."
Both teams contended for the NL wild-card berth, and Lieber beat
the Marlins twice in September.
Florida general manager Larry Beinfest declined to comment
Tuesday, but another team official said the front office was angry
about the matter. The official requested anonymity because Beinfest
There's no indication the front office knew last year about
Girardi's conversation with Lieber. Girardi's relationship with
management quickly soured in his only season with Florida, and he
was fired in October -- then chosen NL Manager of the Year.
Marlins left-hander Dontrelle Willis shrugged off the comments
about Girardi helping Lieber.
"What are you going to do now?" Willis said. "He doesn't even
work here anymore. You can't dock his pay.
"I don't think it's a big deal. If we lost the wild card by two
games, OK. But there are so many different other factors."
Left-hander Scott Olsen agreed.
"If you would have told me that last July when it happened, I
probably would say a little more," Olsen said. "But it doesn't
mean anything right now."
The Marlins finished 10 games behind NL wild-card winner Los
Angeles and seven games behind Philadelphia.
Girardi's agent didn't return a call seeking comment.