Monday, September 22, 2008
Guillen points to RHP Vazquez's faulty record in clutch
ESPN.com news services
With 127 wins and 127 losses, Javier Vazquez's merit as a Hall of Fame pitcher won't be hotly debated when the 11-year veteran retires.
But Ozzie Guillen isn't going that far.
Guillen just points to the right-hander's past performances during big games -- or lack thereof -- even as the White Sox's manager is set to give Vazquez the ball on Tuesday for the start of a crucial three-game series against the AL Central-contending Twins.
''He hasn't been," Guillen said Sunday of Vazquez as a big-game pitcher, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. "That's the bottom line.''
It's been four years since Vazquez's only postseason appearance, when he allowed five runs in five innings over three games for the Yankees, a result that continues to follow him.
''You know what? It's not going to [change a lot of opinions] because I'm really the type of guy that when I retire, I'm going to be home in Puerto Rico with my family,'' Vazquez told the Sun-Times on Saturday.
''I'm not looking to have to change minds if people feel that way," Vazquez said. "I won't be paying attention to that. If I do well or if I don't, I'll still go home at the end of my career and be the same person.''
Vazquez (12-14, 4.32 ERA) will face Twins right-hander Scott Baker (9-4, 3.69) in the series opener.
The White Sox lead the Twins by 2½ games.
''What you see is what you get,'' Guillen said of Vazquez. ''Javy is going to be Javy. I just want him to be aggressive, throw the ball over the plate and knock somebody on their [butt]. That's a big three games for us.
''You have to be mean. Go out there and show them we show up to play, show up to kick your guys' [butts]. And believe me, that will take care of itself."
White Sox players are accustomed to hearing from Guillen through the media.
In early June, Guillen went on a rant in Tampa after the White Sox lost three of four to the Rays, saying general manager Ken Williams should make changes if the team expected to keep winning.
But after Guillen and Williams met days later, the manager said the air between them was "as clear as it can be."
Others communiques from Guillen this season have included:
• Guillen claimed umpire Phil Cuzzi has a vendetta against him.
He was later fined.
• In early May, he went on an obscenity-filled rant in Toronto during a winless road trip, saying Chicago fans and media forgot very quickly that the White Sox won the World Series in 2005.
• He caused a stir by saying Hall of Famer Roberto Clemente was only the third best player to come out of Puerto Rico, behind Ivan Rodriguez and Roberto Alomar.
• He had to defend the presence of inflatable dolls in the White Sox clubhouse in Toronto but refused to apologize.
• He offered his opinion on what sells in baseball -- craziness -- saying Cubs manager Lou Piniella was well-liked for a variety of reasons. "Why do you think they like Lou Piniella? Because Lou is good? Great guy. Great baseball people. But people love Lou Piniella because he's ... up!"
• He cleared up a public disagreement with Orlando Cabrera after the shortstop twice phoned the press box this season to lobby for a scoring change.
"Sometimes I create my own problems, too. I'm not going to make any excuses," Guillen said in June. "That's the way I am. That's me. I'm going to say what I have to say. Some people say the same stuff I say, but they don't get attacked like I do."
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.