The last time Jose Guillen was on a major-league field, he was stomping off in a huff after being lifted for a pinch runner during a key series against the A’s in September. After fuming his way across the diamond, he fired his helmet into the dugout, in the general direction of Angels manager Mike Scioscia.
The next day, the Angels suspended the outfielder for the rest of the season and the postseason, as well, even though he’d driven in 104 runs. They went on to lose to Boston in the division series, and since then, they’ve traded Guillen to Washington, the former Expos.
Guillen, who played for the A’s in the second half of 2003 (hitting .455 vs. Boston despite a broken bone in his hand), remains unrepentant, blaming Scioscia for the incident.
“I think he should have handled it a different way,” said Guillen, who is currently playing for Licey in the Dominican winter league. “A lot of people think it was a different story, like I was fighting every day, but no. I just want to play every day and give it all I’ve got. You tell me what the problem is with that.”
A player who is equally talented and sensitive, Guillen believes that the Angels overreacted and that Scioscia mishandled things by shouting at him at his locker following that Sept. 25 game. Scioscia lifted Guillen, who’d been hit in the leg by reliever Chad Bradford, for Alfredo Amezaga in the eighth inning, and Amezaga went on to score the winning run.
“I felt OK to run,” Guillen said. “It was an 81 mph pitch (from Bradford). All I said was, ‘Why are you doing this?’ He thought I threw my helmet at him, but that’s where the batboy sits and it didn’t even come close (to Scioscia). I went inside and said, ‘Why did Mike do that?’ and then he started screaming and shouting at me.
“If he’d called me to his office and talked, we would have figured it out, but instead it was right in front of everyone. That’s why you have an office.
“I think he wanted an apology right away, but I went home, and when I came back the next day, he wasn’t talking to me and everyone was quiet. I knew something was going on.”
One requirement of Guillen’s suspension was that he attend anger- management classes. Typically, he is in two minds about the classes. He says he got a lot out of them — but they weren’t necessary.
“It was great,” he said. “I learned a lot of stuff. I didn’t really need anger-management classes, but I’ll do whatever I can and maybe they’ll help me. I wanted to see what was going on and learn to react better. I’m fine, though. I don’t think I have any problem, but maybe I’ll take something good out of it.