Turmoil with the White Sox, as Cabrera feels lack of support

Updated: May 28, 2008, 7:36 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen says he's not planning on calling shortstop Orlando Cabrera into his office, even though Cabrera apparently has been making plenty of calls on his own.

In an act that might befit a petulant child more than a major league baseball player, Cabrera has been picking up the phone and complaining to official scorers about errors charged to him.

The Chicago Sun-Times reported in Sunday's editions that during Thursday's 3-1 victory against the Cleveland Indians, Cabrera had called the U.S. Cellular Field press box twice to protest an error that was charged to him in the sixth inning.

Orlando Cabrera

Cabrera

Shortstop
Chicago White Sox

Profile

2008 Season Stats
GM HR RBI R OBP AVG
51 3 13 32 .304 .246

The Chicago media reported that Cabrera had done this before, calling the press box on May 3 to complain to the scoring official in Toronto, also about an error.

Both scoring calls were overturned; Cabrera, batting .246, officially has only one error this season.

But more than that, Cabrera believes he doesn't have the backing of Guillen, and said he felt the need to make the calls himself, rather than go to his manager.

"If it happens again, I will call again," Cabrera said Tuesday, according to the Chicago Tribune. "I don't have to do it with other teams because they always had my back. They don't want to do it here, I can take care of my own business. If you have a problem with what I did, come to me and say something. Don't go to the media to send a message, because he didn't send any message."

Guillen, who learned about the calls on Sunday, said Cabrera's actions could lead to difficulty with his teammates if they perceive his motives to be purely selfish.

"Like I said, be careful what you're doing, what you're saying, because when people find out, you have 25 guys to respond to questions," Guillen said Monday, according to the Tribune. "I'm not mad about the case. I wish he would have handled that a little bit better. I'm the worst manager about [complaining to] scorers.

"… If Cabrera doesn't feel protected by that, I think it's wrong. I'm here for them, they're not here for me."

Cabrera, who played three seasons with the Los Angeles Angels before being traded in November to the White Sox for pitcher Jon Garland, responded on Tuesday.

"If there was a major league player who tells me he's not selfish, he's lying. Everyone is selfish about numbers, because that's the only thing people cannot lie about," said Cabrera, who won a Gold Glove in 2001 and last season. "That's it. It's not a big deal. I don't know who's trying to make this a big deal. Maybe it's the media, maybe it's the manager. And nobody is complaining about that stuff. Nobody cares about that."

Curiously, White Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf and general manager Ken Williams both have been critical of Guillen for protecting his players too much.

"Am I aware of some of the stuff that has been going on with Cabrera? Yes," Williams told a Chicago pool reporter. "I also know it has been addressed to him face-to-face. The one thing Cabrera needs to know about Ozzie is he has faults, and his No. 1 fault is that he protects his players too much. If Orlando doesn't understand that, he needs to talk to his neighbors."

Guillen knows his reputation as manager who protects his players too often that has led to criticism of him in the past. That's why he's puzzled about Cabrera's comments.

"I protect my players 100 percent, and the reason I've been in trouble almost my whole career as a manager is because of that," he told The Associated Press on Wednesday. "I'm the worst guy about calling the scorekeeper. If we see something that's unfair, we'll make the call [up to the press box]. We don't mind doing it."

Guillen would like to put the matter behind the team and focus on maintaining Chicago's lead in the AL Central. He said his door is always open to any of his players.

"I'm not mad," he said. "I wish he would have handled it better. If Cabrera thinks he's not being protected, he's wrong. I'm here for them. If he feels that way, he should let me know."

Guillen, for his part, said he did not intend to pull Cabrera into his office for a private chat about the calls to the press box, or about Cabrera's belief that Guillen was not behind him.

"If he feels that way, he should let me know," Guillen said. "I hope he knows the way we do stuff here. He should come here and say, 'I feel unprotected. I feel like you guys don't care about me.' But I do protect my players and do care about my players.

"My door is never closed. Never. Any office, unless Kenny Williams is there, it's never closed."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.