Nationals right fielder Jose Guillen returned to the lineup yesterday after missing consecutive starts with an ailing left shoulder on which he said he likely will have surgery after the season.
"I don't think there's anything else I can do," Guillen said prior to yesterday's victory over Philadelphia. "I have to get it fixed."
Guillen's myriad injuries have limited his effectiveness this year, but his absence from the lineup in a crucial series against the Phillies came at a time when Manager Frank Robinson laid down rules aimed at getting the team's focus back on baseball, such as eliminating clubhouse music, which troubled some players.
Guillen, speaking emotionally after the game, insisted that his absence was health-related and not in any way associated with Robinson's rules. The Washington Times reported Guillen had refused to play because of the rules.
"This is the stuff that's really hurting me," Guillen said. "I'm so emotional and so sensitive about all this stuff because of my past. It's been so great this year. I've been coming so far to be where I am and who I am and the reputation I've been getting this year, for somebody to start ruining this, it hurts."
Guillen's troubled past includes a season-ending suspension last September when he was with the Angels. Though he got off to a tremendous start in Washington, his relationship with his teammates has, at times, been strained. But he said he is sensitive to the characterization that he is a problem in this clubhouse.
"It's a month left in the season, and I still remember what happened last year, and here we go again," Guillen said. "Because I know it's a lot of people that have been waiting for me to go off again. I know that. And you know what? To be ruining what I've come so far this year, trying to clean my image, for somebody to write negative stuff that's not true, it's really hurting my career."
In an interview this summer, Robinson said Guillen approached him in spring training and asked for stricter rules regarding pregame music.
"What drove him crazy in spring training was the music and what he thought was the care-free attitudes of the players before a ballgame," Robinson said.
"This is what I wanted," Guillen said. "I didn't want all that music. . . . I don't have any problem with Frank. I want everybody to know that."
Minor Leaguer Rasner May Get a Start
The Nationals are preparing to call up right-handers Darrell Rasner and Travis Hughes from the minors, and it's likely Rasner will make his major league debut as a starter this week against the Marlins. Rasner went 6-7 with a 3.93 ERA in 27 appearances for Class AA Harrisburg.
Right-hander Tony Armas Jr., meantime, is out of the rotation, Robinson said, and he will seek yet another opinion on his ailing right shoulder. Even if Armas -- who has lasted more than six innings just four times in 19 starts -- can pitch again, Robinson said it will be from the bullpen. To get by, the Nationals are considering a four-man rotation.