Jose Guillen and Brendan Donnelly were teammates with the Angels in 2004 when Guillen criticized the team’s pitchers and manager Mike Scioscia in late September for not sticking up for the hitters after they’d been hit by pitches. Guillen’s verbal battles with Scioscia eventually got him booted out of Anaheim. Donnelly and other pitchers stuck up for Scioscia and were critical of Guillen.
On June 14, 2005, Guillen, then with the Nationals, got some revenge when he pointed out to Washington manager Frank Robinson that Donnelly had pine tar on his glove. Robinson brought it to the attention of the umpires, who after inspecting Donnelly’s glove and finding a foreign substance, ejected the pitcher. Donnelly wound up serving an eight-game suspension.
Yesterday, in a game that was 14-1 in the eighth inning, Donnelly fanned Guillen on three pitches, punctuating the strikeout with a gesture that caught Guillen’s ire.
Guillen had to be restrained from going after Donnelly, and the benches and bullpens emptied. When the game resumed, Donnelly hit the next batter, Kenji Johjima, prompting an immediate ejection from plate umpire Phil Cuzzi.
“It goes way back,” said Guillen. “It started when I was with the Angels and I got traded, you know. Caught him cheating once, and unfortunately he keeps running his mouth like he’s gonna hit me. He’s got to be man enough to hit me and not hit our catcher. So if you’re gonna hit somebody, go ahead and do it.
“When I was walking to the dugout, I saw him staring at me and I just don’t like that. I know he was saying something. He was staring at me. I don’t like whatever he’s saying.
“If he says he’s gonna hit me, I just want him to hit me and then we take care of this as men. If you say you’re gonna hit somebody, go ahead and do it and don’t be running your mouth like chicken [expletive] or whatever it is.
Not only does deposed Astros closer Brad Lidge take exception to losing his job to Dan Wheeler (the latter, narrowly escaping in yesterday’s 4-2 win over the Cubs), but he reminds the Houston Chronicle’s Jose De Jesus Ortiz that Sunday’s 5 run outing against the Cardinals wasn’t a blown save.
“I’m definitely upset about losing my role after throwing in two games, after throwing in one save situation,” Lidge said. “Garner made the decision, and I will of course stand by it. He’s my manager, and I’ll do whatever he wants me to do. But that being said, I’m pretty ticked off about it. I guess the only thing I can do is use it as motivation.”
Lidge issued a rare “no comment” when asked if he had seen a sports psychologist or if the Astros had made one available to him.
“I’ll just say there are people available,” he said.
General manager Tim Purpura acknowledges sports psychologists are available to Astros players, but he wouldn’t say whether Lidge has used such help.
“To me, that’s a confidentiality issue,” Purpura said. “There are certain things that shouldn’t be made public. Certain things, to me ” as if you were going through counseling at (your job) ” I don’t think that would be public information, and I don’t think those kinds of things should be made public with players.”