Monday, June 9, 2003

Fiery Guillen still struggling with role

Outfielder would like to start twice a week

By John Erardi
The Cincinnati Enquirer


Photos of Sunday's game
Whatever Jose Guillen says or does, it isn't going to upset Reds manager Bob Boone.

"What I've told him is because I really like him - 'You can't make me mad,' " Boone said. " 'Just make sure when I say (get into the game) that you're ready.' "

All of the Reds fireworks were contained to the team's clubhouse before Sunday's 5-0 rain-delayed loss to the Toronto Blue Jays before 25,633 fans at Great American Ball Park.

Guillen, the talented and fiery fourth outfielder who is fighting to keep his emotions in check over a lack of playing time, lost one of those internal battles Sunday.

He threw two bats into the back of his locker before the game, leaving two big holes and one small one. The Reds said Guillen would not be fined, but that he would have to pay for the damage.

Guillen said he threw the bats because Boone had told him Saturday that he was going to start Sunday, then changed his mind.

Boone didn't deny changing his mind overnight. He said he had talked Saturday to Guillen, catcher Kelly Stinnett and infielder Ray Olmedo about playing Sunday.

"And then overnight, I decided on what to do, which is the kind of thing I do," Boone said. "But, yes, he was expecting to play, no question. I left here (Saturday) night thinking, 'I'm going to rest (Austin) and Jason (LaRue),' and then I thought it over and changed my mind."

Guillen said when he questioned Boone about the change, Boone said his hands were tied, that the order had come from above to play the same lineup he had played Saturday. The name Guillen said he had heard in connection with that order was John Allen, the chief operating officer.

Allen later told Enquirer reporter John Fay, "I don't talk to Bob about the lineup."

Boone said he hasn't ever talked to Allen about a daily lineup and he denied any front-office meddling in the daily lineup.

"There's input on everything we do as an organization, but the lineup is mine," Boone said.

When a reporter mentioned to general manager Jim Bowden before the game that Guillen was upset about something, Bowden said: "It's a closed issue. It's been resolved. It's fine."

Guillen wants to be traded, but Boone isn't inclined to oblige him.

"He has much more value to us than you could get in return," Boone said.

"He just wants to play," Boone added. "It wells up and he explodes, and the problem is all these others guys see it. He's not going to increase his value (doing that), which is what he doesn't understand."

Guillen is a valuable Red. His two-out, pinch-hit, bases-loaded, two RBI single in the seventh inning Saturday night cut the deficit to 8-5 and set up the four-run ninth-inning rally that produced the Reds' eighth walkoff win of the season.

Boone said he would be playing Guillen in Tampa Bay, but didn't specify how many games.

To which Guillen said: "If you're going to play me, play me. I'm going to go in and do my best, and that includes pinch-hitting. You're better off not telling me anything, and just do whatever you want to do."

Guillen said he would like to start twice a week.

"Right now, it's like I'm a pinch-hitter and that's it. I like Bob Boone as a manager and as a person, but sometimes he says something and I don't know if there's somebody controlling him from upstairs, telling him what to do."

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