Chicago Sun-Times
with sports reporters Daryl Van Schouwen and Chris De Luca

The 'OC' is back on the South Side Monday

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amd_whitesox_cabrera.jpgKANSAS CITY, Mo. - As far as Ozzie Guillen is concerned, when shortstop Orlando Cabrera steps on the field Monday evening in his Oakland uniform, he should be welcomed back to the South Side with open arms and cheers.
Unfortunately for the White Sox manager, he isn't in position to lead by example.
Guillen wouldn't come out on Sunday and say that the relationship he had with the once young shortstop he coached back in his Montreal days is now strained, but it definitely took a hit last season - Cabrera's one and only year with the Sox.
"I don't think our relationship - it's not what it was no doubt, but I don't think it's bad,'' Guillen said. "The day I said some things about him [to the media], we had a closed-door meeting and talked to him about it. What I didn't like, what I did like, and besides that day, there wasn't anything going on with him and me.
"I don't know if our relationship as friends has changed, because it's something where I've got a job to do and I had to do the best I can because I had to represent 24 other guys out there [in the clubhouse]. But like I have said over and over again, I will always remember that he went out on the field for me and played. He took the leadoff role, which he never was. It's too bad things didn't work out the way we wanted, but I think he played really good for us.''
The two did see each other back in spring training, and exchanged hellos, but they were quick.
While there wasn't one, huge knockdown, drag-out disagreement between the two, there was definitely a piling up of straw that eventually broke the relationship.
It started in the spring of 2008, when Cabrera took exception to Guillen saying in a Sun-Times article on the shortstop that he and Cabrera both liked to talk about the good-looking women in the Latino soap operas. Guillen said it in jest, but Cabrera didn't find it funny and let Guillen know about it.
On the other hand, Guillen didn't think that Cabrera came in looking out for the team first over his own pending free agency, evident by the way he didn't look to build any relationships with his new teammates, unless they had a deck of cards or a domino in their hands.
He acted like a one-year mercenary that was there to do the Sox a favor.
Guillen also didn't appreciate the way Cabrera went out of his way to point out Angels skipper Mike Scioscia was "the smartest manager I played for ... by far'' or the fact that he twice called up to the press box during games to have errors overturned, including one that could have been put on his own teammate in Toby Hall.
But even with Cabrera elsewhere, Guillen will never question the fact that Cabrera played hard for him - selfishly or not.
"He should get a good one, dang,'' Guillen responded, when asked what sort of fan reception should Cabrera receive. "Whatever happened behind the scenes had nothing to do with the performance he did for us. I think people should appreciate the way he did things on the field. To me, he had a big part on why we went to the playoffs last year. Inside stuff, that was our problems. It was my problem, his problem, whatever, it should have nothing to do with what he did on the field.''

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This page contains a single entry by Joe Cowley published on May 31, 2009 5:21 PM.

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