Que Eye of the Tiger Music...Animosity remains for Mariners right fielderAngels bring out devil in Guillen
By DAVID ANDRIESEN AND JOHN HICKEY
PEORIA, Ariz. -- Two teams and more than two years removed from his ugly departure from the Los Angeles Angels, you'd think Jose Guillen would be over it.
You'd be wrong.
"Against these guys, I'm gonna tell you straightforward, the anger comes out of me," the Mariners right fielder said Friday. "I want to kill all those guys."
Despite his reputation as an angry guy, Guillen meant "kill" in the competitive, not the literal, sense. Metaphorically, he helped kill the Angels on Friday, hitting a two-run homer in the first inning and going 3-for-4 in Seattle's 10-6 victory.
"I love a lot of those guys I played with over there, but there's some guys I don't really love over there, and I want to show them something," Guillen said. "The decision they made was a stupid one, and it should have been handled different.
"I (wish) we could play them 162 times. That's going to be my motivation. And trust me, that's not good when Jose Guillen gets motivated. I really step up to a really different level."
Guillen had an outstanding season for the Angels in 2004, batting .294 with 27 homers and 104 RBIs. But with two weeks left in the regular season, the outfielder publicly criticized manager Mike Scioscia after Scioscia lifted him for a pinch runner in a key game. Scioscia responded by suspending Guillen for the remainder of the regular season and the postseason for insubordination.
Guillen was traded to the Washington Nationals that winter, and when the Angels and Nationals played the next season, Washington manager Frank Robinson asked umpires to check Angels pitcher Brendan Donnelly's glove for pine tar -- reportedly on a tip from Guillen. Donnelly was ejected, Robinson and Scioscia got into a heated discussion, the benches emptied, and Guillen hit a game-tying, eighth-inning homer in a Nationals victory.
The next day Guillen railed against Scioscia to reporters, calling him "a piece of garbage" and saying "he can go to hell."
The animosity remains, and as long as Guillen can harness it on the field, the Mariners should be glad. In two Cactus League games against the Angels this spring, Guillen is 5-for-7 with two home runs, two doubles and five RBIs.
Friday he was greeted with boos from the Angels faithful, then brought Mariners fans to their feet when he parked a 2-2 offering from former teammate John Lackey on the left-field lawn. He admits to sneaking a glance at Scioscia while headed for first base.
"I'll always have something to prove to those guys," Guillen said. "Not to the players maybe, but to the manager. Usually I couldn't care less about spring training, but against that team I care. To me, I take it like it's the (regular) season."
The good news for Seattle fans is that once the games do count, the Mariners and Angels are scheduled to play 19 times.
"It's going to be 19 exciting, good games, I can tell you that," Guillen said. "You can write that down. It's going to be 19 exciting games. It's going to be crazy when we go to Anaheim, but I know how to handle it. I do not (feel) pressure from anyone, and I will prove it on the field."