Guillen Wanted Payback
Thursday, July 7, 2005
For the first three months of the season, outfielder Jose Guillen has been welcomed by the Washington Nationals, both because of his bat and his apparent desire to win. But Tuesday night, after being hit by a pitch in the Nationals' 3-2 victory over the New York Mets, Guillen had a flare-up that several Nationals players and coaches said concerned them.
Mets pitcher Pedro Martinez hit Guillen with a pitch in the first inning, and Guillen -- according to several sources -- became incensed that the Nationals didn't retaliate. Several sources said he had a confrontation in the dugout prior to the bottom of the second inning with pitcher Esteban Loaiza and catcher Brian Schneider.
"He was on first base, and then we went back on the field [in the top of the second], and then came back in the dugout, and it was our turn up to bat, and he said he told me to hit somebody," Loaiza said yesterday. "He never mentioned anything to me, and then he started going after Schneider. And Schneider didn't hear him, either.
"And everybody was mad. I was mad. Eventually, some of our teammates had to calm us down. We still had a lot more game left."
Loaiza, who gave up one run in just more than eight innings, said retaliation, in such a close game, was ill-advised. "We don't need to get nobody thrown out," he said.
Guillen, who declined to speak to reporters after Tuesday's game, said repeatedly yesterday that he was not upset at being hit by Martinez, the fourth time his fellow native of the Dominican Republic has hit him during his career. Teammates privately said Guillen's actions showed differently.
Guillen said that he was actually upset about an errant throw he made in the ninth inning, one that put the tying run on second base. As for being hit, he said: "It's part of the game. It's over. We've got to move on."
Guillen did allow, however, that being hit by the pitch motivated him. He went 3 for 3 and drove in the Nationals' final run. He is tied for second in the National League with 10 hit-by-pitches.
"All the time I get hit, that's a wakeup call for me," Guillen said. "That makes me an even better player. So, it makes me even more angry, more hungry to go play the game, [to] just do some better stuff and help this team win."
Prior to Tuesday night, Guillen's moods were primarily tied to whether the club won or lost. All season, players have raved about the club's chemistry, and they consider it an essential element in their rise to first place in the NL East. As one player said yesterday, "We don't need that right now." Some players elected yesterday not to speak to Guillen, who did not take batting practice before the game. Manager Frank Robinson gave him time to collect himself before addressing the situation.
"I'm a pitcher," Loaiza said. "We know what we're capable of doing in situations like that. We've got to take care of our business and not allow nobody runs, especially a team like that, especially against a pitcher that they're throwing, Pedro. Who knows if we have a chance to win a game, a close game, if we hit a guy?"