NEW YORK -- Shortly after signing as a free agent with the Marlins, Heath Bell was waiting at the airport for his flight to Miami.
To kill time, the veteran reliever went on his Twitter account and interacted with fans. It was his way of reaching out to the public, and Bell enjoyed the light give-and-take.
But during the season, Bell has experienced the downside of social media. The 34-year-old has had a rough year personally, and the Marlins are sitting in last place.
The more he struggled, the nastier the comments that came to him on Twitter. When rude comments were made about Bell's family, the reliever decided to shut it down. He no longer is on Twitter, and he rarely goes onto Facebook.
"Twitter would get really personal," said Bell, who is 19-for-26 in save chances this year. "People were saying stuff about my family. Say stuff about me. I stunk this year, I really did. Early on, in April, hopefully no one has a month like that.
"I decided to get off all of it. It was hurting my family. My daughter, she is 14. She was reading it, feeling hurt. My wife was reading it. I wasn't looking at it for the longest time, because I knew negative comments were there. It was wrong. It's so easy to write stuff on Twitter. You're not accountable for it."
As a big leaguer, dealing with negative comments comes with the territory. It happened in the past, when Bell was with the Padres. He would routinely hear it from opposing fans.
"There were a lot of San Francisco fans riling things up all the time," Bell said. "My wife was getting mad. But I was doing good in San Diego."
Bell is striving to finish the season strong, and doing what it takes to have a bounce-back year in 2013.
Performing at a high level in the big leagues is tough enough without distractions. So Bell isn't getting caught up in the negativity of social media.
"It just wasn't helping," Bell said.
Buck looking for strong finish to '12
NEW YORK -- Finish on a high note and see what happens has been John Buck's approach for a while.
The veteran catcher, who is signed through 2013, understands personnel moves may occur in the offseason. The Marlins already are giving playing time to rookie Rob Brantly, who was in the starting lineup on Sunday in the series finale against the Mets at Citi Field.
"The way I've approached it is, I didn't have a very good first half," Buck said. "I had some weird, unlikely things happen. I think I've figured some things out, and have had a better second half. I feel normal again."
Buck delivered a three-run homer in the ninth inning in Saturday's 4-3 loss.
In 25 games since Aug. 1, Buck has picked up his game. He is batting .294 (25-for-85) with eight doubles, a triple, four home runs and 15 RBIs.
Obviously, how he finishes can't erase the disappointment of the entire season. Overall, Buck is batting .201 with 12 homers and 41 RBIs.
He went into the All-Star break carrying a .176 average, with eight homers and 24 RBIs. In the second half, he's hit at a .240 clip, with four homers and 17 RBIs.
"The first half, there is nothing I can do to control that," Buck said. "But in the second half, I feel like I've done what I wanted to do. For me, personally as a ballplayer, I've taken away -- not having a good season -- but managed to salvage things. That's all I can control. That's what I have to focus [on]."
Brantly, acquired from the Tigers on July 23 as part of the Omar Infante/Anibal Sanchez trade, clearly will factor into the team's plans for 2013. The question is if the Marlins will bring Buck back to split time behind the plate.
Brantly is a left-handed hitter, so he offers a platoon option.
"I don't get paid to make those shots," Buck said. "I know my strengths. All I can do is be ready to go. I'm not going to do anything differently. Other than that, it's in their ballpark."
Reyes takes pride in playing every game
NEW YORK -- The final games may not mean much for the standings, but Jose Reyes is intent on going out there for each and every one of them.
The Marlins' shortstop is on pace to play 160 games for the first time since 2007. He didn't play in more than 133 contests in the last three seasons -- all with the Mets -- because of nagging injuries, which he said he's been pleased to have avoided this season in Miami.
"That's something that I love," Reyes said. "I love to be in the lineup every single day. If I'm able to play at 75-80 percent, I wanna be there. I want to help the team in any way I can. The last four years have been tougher for me, not being able to play in the field. A lot of people had questions about why I couldn't play every day, but I'm just happy to be out there every day with my teammates."
Things certainly haven't gone as planned for Reyes, who opted to sign with the Marlins this winter after spending his first nine big league seasons with the Mets. Expectations were high in Miami this season, but the Marlins now sit in last place.
Still, the four-time All-Star takes pride in taking the field every game -- regardless of where his team sits in the standings.
"I'm here to play baseball," Reyes said. "I know when we got to Spring Training, we didn't expect to be in the situation we're in now. We expected to be in contention. That hasn't happened. That's how baseball is. But no matter how disappointing the season is for us, I still have to go out and give it everything I have."
Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro. Joey Nowak is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @joeynowak. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.