Guillen to Zambrano: Face it like a man
CHICAGO -- White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said he counseled Chicago Cubs pitcher Carlos Zambrano during a dinner on Friday night on how to handle the controversy that resulted in Zambrano's suspension.
After surrendering four runs to the Sox in the first inning Friday afternoon, Zambrano stormed the dugout, screaming and knocking over a Gatorade cooler, and he had to be separated from teammate Derrek Lee.
Manager Lou Piniella sent Zambrano home, and general manager Jim Hendry suspended Zambrano indefinitely.
"I asked what happened, and he told me exactly what happened," Guillen said before Saturday's game. "He said he was upset with the team. That's it.
"I told him what to do. ... 'Face it like a man. Don't turn your back on this problem. Face it like a man and move on.' What are they going to do, trade him, release him, suspend him? At least when you face it like a man and admit you were wrong, everything moves on. He didn't kill anybody. We cannot criticize this kid for that. That's the way he is. Carlos has his own way. That's the intensity this kid brings."
Piniella said he expects Zambrano will face it like a man, but Piniella also said he would have preferred Zambrano spend Friday night in private, reflecting on the incident.
Sox general manager Ken Williams admitted that having his manager go out for dinner with an opposing player could be tricky.
ESPNChicago.com Cubs blog
The latest news and notes on the Cubs. Blog
"In an ordinary situation, yes [the dinner is peculiar], and I might feel compelled to pick up the phone and call the opposing GM," Williams said on "Talkin' Baseball" on ESPN 1000. "But Jim is very well aware of the relationship those two gentlemen have, and I think is also aware of the positive influence that Ozzie can have on his friend. It's not about baseball, it's about friends.
"Ozzie would be quick to tell you that Carlos Zambrano is one of the finest people he knows in his life. Out of the uniform [he's] a little different than the type of guy you saw on display yesterday."
Williams believes Guillen can have a positive influence on Zambrano.
"I view that [dinner], and I'm sure Jim does as well -- if he doesn't, someone needs to let me know and I will speak on the situation -- but I view that as nothing but a positive. ... Ozzie probably had some things that I'm sure the Cubs and Lou and Jim would have liked to have said to Carlos, that he was able to say in a much different way and probably get through to him."
Guillen said he didn't want to spoil Zambrano's dinner by harping on the incident.
"He was wrong," Guillen said. "He never said he was right, at least to me. He knew he was wrong. He overreacted.
"I talked to him about talking to his people and making everything straight up with Lou and the general manager. To me, it was fun. We talked about a lot of different things. Carlos knows he made a mistake and will take care of it."
The White Sox will try to extend their winning streak to 11 games Saturday night when they host the Cubs. The streak has overshadowed recent problems between Williams and Guillen, and Williams was glad the controversy Friday was in the visitors' dugout.
"My initial reaction was I'm glad it's them and not me, not our team," Williams said. "I know things that happen on our side of town tend to get blown up to a greater degree than they do on the other side of town.
"I'm surprised Ozzie and I aren't blamed for what happened in their dugout."