MILWAUKEE -- Dontrelle Willis did it all as a rookie with the Marlins in 2003.
The left-hander, then 21 years old, stormed onto the big league scene in May. He went on to become an All-Star, National League Rookie of the Year and a World Series champion.
"I think Dontrelle Willis was the reason why the Marlins won in 2003," said Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen, then the team's third-base coach. "Obviously, it takes 25 guys to win the World Series. But I think when he arrived to the Marlins, he took this pitching staff to the next level. I think, because of the competition, everybody went to the next level when he arrived in Miami.
"I think that's the biggest reason we were in great shape and went to the playoffs. I think that was the reason."
Willis, who played for the Marlins from 2003-07, announced his retirement on Monday. He was in the Orioles' organization this season, but didn't pitch at the big league level.
At the 2007 Winter Meetings, the Marlins traded Willis and Miguel Cabrera to the Tigers in a deal that included Andrew Miller and Cameron Maybin coming to Florida.
When Willis was with the Tigers, he faced Guillen's former team, the White Sox.
"He was bad," the manager said. "The few times he pitched against us, I thought he got hurt. I called him to see what it was. He couldn't throw strikes. When you're not throwing strikes, you announce your retirement pretty quick. That's not just him. That's everybody."
Bonifacio set to begin rehab stint Wednesday
MILWAUKEE -- Marlins top prospect Christian Yelich will likely be playing another position for about a week. That's because center fielder Emilio Bonifacio is tentatively set to begin his rehab assignment with Class A Jupiter on Wednesday.
Bonifacio, on the disabled list since May 20, is lined up to play for the Hammerheads beginning on Wednesday when they face the Palm Beach Cardinals at Roger Dean Stadium.
Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen said on Monday that the hope is Bonifacio will get some rehab assignment games and come off the disabled list on July 13, the first day after the All-Star break.
The Marlins will be at home that day, opening a series against the Nationals.
"If everything comes out the way we think, he should be coming back after the All-Star break," Guillen said. "He's going to rehab first."
Bonifacio sprained his left thumb after jamming it on second base on a stolen base attempt at Cleveland. An MRI exam revealed a ligament tear that required surgery on May 25.
A few days ago, the speedster was cleared to return to full baseball activities. He plans to wear a protective brace when he is on base.
Jupiter's roster features Yelich, the club's first-round Draft pick in 2010. He's been playing mostly center field, but can also play corner outfield.
Also next week, reliever Edward Mujica (broken right pinky toe) is expected to pitch in rehab assignment games at Jupiter. Mujica was placed on the DL on Saturday.
Juan Carlos Oviedo is slated to begin playing Minor League games on Saturday, which is 16 days before he is eligible to end his six-week suspension.
Oviedo, formerly Leo Nunez, has dealt with legal issues and a league suspension stemming from issues related to playing with a false identity.
Oviedo is eligible to play for the Marlins on July 23, when the team is at home against Atlanta. Per league rule, he can begin playing Minor League games 16 days before his suspension is lifted.
Starter LeBlanc ready to help Marlins out of 'pen
MILWAUKEE -- If the decision was based on Spring Training performance, Wade LeBlanc clearly would have opened the regular season with the Marlins.
It didn't work out that way, because the Marlins already had their rotation set, and the club felt LeBlanc was better off pitching every fifth day at Triple-A New Orleans than coming out of the bullpen in long relief in the big leagues.
But after Edward Mujica was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a broken bone in his right pinky toe, the team needed bullpen help.
LeBlanc, who was starting and performing well at Triple-A, got the call. The left-hander arrived in Miami at noon ET on Sunday, about 70 minutes before the Marlins completed a three-game sweep of the Phillies. Afterward, he gathered himself again and made the flight with the club to Milwaukee.
For now, LeBlanc's role is as a long reliever.
"The big thing for guys when they get sent down is they think there are some things they have to do differently," LeBlanc said. "In my mind, there wasn't anything I had to do differently. I just had to maintain what I had going in Spring Training. I think for the most part I was able to do that, with the exception of a couple of rough outings."
Acquired from the Padres for catcher John Baker last fall, LeBlanc was statistically Miami's top pitcher in Spring Training, posing a 2-1 record with a 1.31 ERA, striking out 19 in 20 2/3 innings.
The 27-year-old was 5-5 with a 3.74 ERA in 16 Triple-A starts. He struck out 91 and walked 20 in 98 2/3 innings.
What did he focus on at New Orleans?
"Basically to stay aggressive and not to do anything differently than what I did in Spring Training," the lefty said.
LeBlanc has 54 games of big league experience, with just two appearances out of the bullpen.
"I'll handle anything they throw at me," he said. "Wherever they want me to go, whatever they want me to do, I'll do. I'm just happy to be here. And happy they think I can help this club.
"It's always fun to come back and see all the guys and feel like part of the team, where hopefully they feel you belong."