May 30, 2007
One of the bitter feuds in baseball may be nearing a warm-and-fuzzy ending, as Jose Guillen sought out Mike Scioscia two hours before Tuesday night's game in Anaheim.
Alas, the pair was unable to coordinate pregame schedules to meet and talk – Guillen intended to offer his hand – but perhaps another time; the Seattle Mariners and Los Angeles Angels conclude their three-game series tonight.
The grudge is 2½ years old. Another day wouldn't matter.
What began innocently – Scioscia removed Guillen for a pinch-runner in a late September 2004 game – became a running, sometimes story that saw:
Guillen fire his helmet into the end of the dugout where Scioscia works.
A clubhouse confrontation that was loud and ended poorly for Guillen.
A suspension. A trade of Guillen to the Washington Nationals.
In a June 2005 game between the Angels and Nationals, Angels reliever Brendan Donnelly being caught with pine tar on his glove, ejected and suspended.
Which led to an on-field confrontation between Scioscia and Nationals manager Frank Robinson.
Which led to a lot of players and coaches rushing the field and an enraged Guillen being dragged off by players and coaches.
An admission by Guillen that he'd put Robinson up to the pat-down of Donnelly, along with an observation that Scioscia was "like a piece of garbage" and "He can go to hell."
A response by Scioscia: "I hope the anger management classes helped him."
A near-fight between Donnelly, since traded to the Boston Red Sox, and Guillen, since signed by the Mariners, in the Red Sox home opener seven weeks ago.
All because Scioscia wanted Alfredo Amezega on the basepaths against the Oakland Athletics one eighth inning three seasons ago.
So, life in the AL West perhaps gets a little quieter. And less colorful.
Assuming that handshake ever happens.
• Daisuke Matsuzaka would rather you not know how – or where – he sleeps. Bothered by a stomach ailment during Friday's start in Texas (he pitched poorly and, true to his run support, won), Matsuzaka revealed to Japanese reporters that, for the benefit of his back, he'd traded the soft American hotel beds for the hard American hotel floors. According to the Boston Herald, Matsuzaka believes this might also have led to the virus, which could have been hiding in the filthy American carpets. Anyway, he's got another plan to save his back, which he'll keep private because, the story said, "he preferred not to have people wondering or imagining how he looked while he slept." Consider it done.
• Angels left fielder Garret Anderson, on the DL for a month with a torn hip tendon, began a minor-league rehabilitation assignment today and, he said, could be available to the club by Sunday against the Baltimore Orioles. His return creates an interesting dilemma for Scioscia. Rookie Reggie Willits has played left field almost every day in Anderson's absence and is batting .339 with a .417 on-base percentage and 11 steals. And DH Shea Hillenbrand, who looked dreadful for most of April and May, has shown signs of coming out of his slump, hitting two home runs in the past week.
• Here's a story you might hear more about: On its front page, the New York Post called it "Stray-Rod." According to the paper, Alex Rodriguez and "a busty blonde" spent Sunday night together in Toronto, where they dined, visited a strip club and went to a hotel in which the team was not staying. And you thought he'd cooled off.
• Steve Trachsel, signed by the Baltimore Orioles when Kris Benson blew out and only after nearly every other free-agent pitcher had been picked over, has won his last three starts (OK, one against the Kansas City Royals and another against the Washington Nationals) and improved his ERA to 3.39. Put him on the list of available pitchers come the trading deadline.
• Looks like the Minnesota Twins are making their move again. They've won eight of 11, the last two against the Chicago White Sox (to pull even with the Southsiders in the AL Central). At 26-25, they are above .500 for the first time in three weeks. On this date last year they were five games under .500. They started winning in mid-June and didn't stop until the division series against the A's.
… AND FLY
Johnny Damon, summing it all up: "It seems like we're losing every way possible."