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Ozzie reflects on former Marlin D-Train's career

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."

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."

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.