TUCSON, Ariz. -- During his two seasons as manager of the Chicago White Sox, Ozzie Guillen has fired off opinions and profanity-filled declarations on a variety of topics and personalities.
On Friday, he added a rare offering to his repertoire: an apology.
Guillen apologized to Alex Rodriguez for comments he made in a Sports Illustrated article in which he criticized the Yankees star for waffling on his choice of countries for the World Baseball Classic.
"I learned a lesson. I never took a first shot at anybody in my life and now I feel like I took the first shot. I feel embarrassed, I feel guilty. I wish I had not said it the way it sounds or the way I said it," Guillen said at a news conference at the White Sox's spring training complex on reporting day for pitchers and catchers.
Guillen, who led the White Sox to their first World Series title since 1917 in just his second season as manager, said he spent a sleepless night Thursday after seeing his quotes on TV and in print.
In the SI article, which centered mainly on Guillen's visit to a Venezuelan prison, the manager gave his opinion on several subjects, including Rodriguez's decision on which team to play for in the WBC.
Rodriguez was born in the United States, but his parents are Dominican. So he had a choice. He first thought he would play for the Dominican Republic, then said he was not going to play at all before finally deciding to participate with Team USA.
"He knew he wasn't going to play for the Dominicans. He's not a Dominican. I hate hypocrites. He's full of [bleep]," Guillen said in the article.
Guillen tried to explain his remarks Friday.
"I don't call him a hypocrite in that way. Alex is not a hypocrite. I was just trying to say he doesn't have to please people. He doesn't have to make people from the United States or from the Dominican Republic or from Venezuela happy. When you do that, you sound like you are a hypocrite. You say, 'Hey I want to play for the United States and that's the team I belong on,' move on and that's it."
Guillen said he didn't want Rodriguez to have to deal with the issue at spring training when he reports and would call him, if necessary.
"I apologize to Alex Rodriguez, his family, his fans, the New York Yankee organization, to the White Sox organization," Guillen said.
"That's the first time I feel like I did something wrong. I've been in a lot of controversial things before, but I think I started this one and I'm going to finish it. ... What I did to Alex was wrong. He can do whatever he wants. If he wants to play for Japan, fine for him."
Guillen also had a comment in the SI article about Nomar Garciaparra, who decided not to play for Mexico.
"Garciaparra only knows Cancun because he went to visit," Guillen said in the magazine article. On Friday, Guillen said he was just joking about Garciaparra. "I think it was funny."
Guillen was embroiled in another controversy earlier this month when he decided to skip the White Sox's visit to the White House, a move that had the critics hopping.
Guillen said when the White Sox decided to not allow families to make the trip to Washington to keep the party size smaller, he didn't want to interrupt his vacation if his family couldn't go.
"I don't disrespect anybody. I want to make that clear," Guillen said, adding he wasn't trying to make a political statement. "I'm not going to the White House because my kids are more important than anything in my life."
White Sox general manager Ken Williams, who had to do damage control a couple of times last season, said he talked with Guillen and tried to get him to adopt a "no comment" policy on some subjects. Probably won't happen.
"Kenny's got the wrong guy," said Guillen, who promises to keep expressing himself.
Said Williams: "Ozzie is still growing into his position and the responsibility of his position, as well as am I. We'll continue to evolve in a way that is first class. ... We want to win in a first-class manner and be known as a first-class organization. We got a little bit of work to do, but we'll keep at it."