Right fielder Jose Guillen spent much of Saturday afternoon working on his swing with Bob Boone, a special assistant for the Washington Nationals. Boone was Guillen's manager in Cincinnati, and the mission of the extra session was clear: Get Guillen out of a massive slump.
"The way I've been swinging the bat the last week-and-a-half," Guillen said, "I'm not producing offensively the way I'm capable of doing."
Guillen entered Saturday night's game against the San Diego Padres hitting .159 and slugging an anemic .205 in September. Manager Frank Robinson said Guillen isn't being selective enough at the plate, and both Robinson and hitting coach Tom McCraw said Guillen must eliminate some of the movement in his hands prior to his swing. Guillen has a tendency to bring his hands back when the pitch is en route, and then release his swing. That, Robinson said, creates many of the foul tips that have characterized Guillen's recent at-bats.
Guillen has just five of his 74 RBI this month, and he knows more is expected.
"When it's coming to be in a clutch situation, I got a great feeling Jose Guillen is going to come up in a great moment at a great time," Guillen said. "There's still a lot of games left. I'm going to do whatever I can do to help this team win, to help us get to the playoffs."
Armas to Disabled List
Prior to Saturday's game, the Nationals placed right-hander Tony Armas Jr. on the 60-day disabled list and activated infielder Junior Spivey, a move that likely ends Armas's career with Washington.
Armas was counted on to be a stalwart starter this season, and Robinson, in spring training, called him the key to the rotation. But he suffered a groin pull, began the year on the disabled list, performed inconsistently and came down with shoulder tightness. He last pitched on Sept. 1 and finished the season 7-7 with a 4.97 ERA. He is a free agent and it's unlikely the Nationals will pursue re-signing him.
Spivey has been on the disabled list since July 13 with a broken right forearm. Acquired in a June 10 trade for pitcher Tomo Ohka, he hit .221 with 26 strikeouts in 23 games for the Nationals.