Guillen rates with manager Robinson
Outfielder having an All-Star caliber year in club's estimation
Since being traded to the Nationals last November, outfielder Jose Guillen's reputation has been the antithesis of what it was with the Angels, who suspended him for the last week of the 2004 season and the postseason because of inappropriate conduct following his removal for a pinch-runner on Sept. 25 against the A's.
In Washington, manager Frank Robinson often talks about Guillen's great work ethic and how much he wants to win.
Guillen's work ethic has paid off on the field. Entering Sunday's action, Guillen was hitting .298 with 10 home runs and 27 RBIs. He has also played solid defense in right field.
All the more reason Guillen should be considered for the National League All-Star team this summer. The All-Star Game will be played on July 12 at Comerica Park in Detroit. There is still time to vote for Guillen to the Midsummer Classic. Fans can cast votes for Guillen by going to MLB.com or by attending a game at any Major League park. In the first round of balloting, Guillen was not listed in the top 15 vote-getters among outfielders.
"Jose is a very big part of this ballclub, physically and mentally," Robinson said last month. "In the clubhouse, he mixes very well with his teammates. He is a very sincere guy. He's not a talker very much, but he does it with his action. When he says something, you can believe it's the truth."
Guillen showed how much he meant to the Nationals on May 7 against the Giants in San Francisco. In that game, Washington came back from an 8-7 deficit to defeat San Francisco, 11-8.
In the ninth inning, with Jeffrey Hammonds on second base, Guillen advanced Hammonds to third by grounding out to second base. Brad Wilkerson then brought Hammonds home with a sacrifice fly.
Robinson felt the key to the run was Guillen giving himself up to advance the runner to third base.
"He changes his approach with two strikes. He hits according to the situation," Robinson said. "He's not up there trying to be the hero himself by hitting a home run or things like that. He felt like doing what the occasion calls for to win a ballgame. That was a big play. That goes unnoticed so much. They think so much about offense. Just a little thing like that, it changed the ballgame. It changed the way the Giants approached the game. I don't know too many hitters of his stature who would have done that."
Guillen said he wanted to show his teammates that there are other ways to win a ballgame.
"My approach was to hit the ball the other way. That shows a lot to a young player, that I care about winning. I care about my team," he said.
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.