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

Ozzie warns Alexei ... again

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alexei_ramirez_080_1001277c.jpgThe message has been sent to Alexei Ramirez.
What he does with it now, that's on him. But he might want to take it to heart, considering that Ozzie Guillen is the sender, and inevitably can be the executioner.
Upset with what Guillen called "lazy'' defense in Thursday's win over Los Angeles, including a defensive lapse that allowed Los Angeles to tie the game in the seventh inning and extend the game to the 13th, the White Sox manager called Ramirez out following the marathon, and then made it a topic for discussion on Friday.
"One thing about it, I don't care if he hates me or if he loves me, but this kid has an unbelievable future,'' Guillen said of Ramirez. "This kid can be one of the best in the game. My job is to get him there. How I'm going to do it, we'll see how, but I learned that from [Braves manager] Bobby Cox. When Bobby Cox told [former Atlanta outfielder] Andruw Jones right in his face, 'I [benched] you because you're better than that and you're going to be a superstar.' I think this kid has the same tools to be [a star]. If he doesn't play the game right, he's going to have a tough time playing for me.''
Guillen was asked if he had personally spoken to Ramirez about that, specifically the idea that Ramirez takes his offensive miscues out to the field with him at times, and said he had been spoken to before about it. Not only spoken to, but spent a weekend series on the bench because of it back in May.
"I should [talk to him again], just to get it out of my system,'' Guillen said. "But I'm going to let him go because I might say the wrong thing to him and all of a sudden we might create a monster. I hope he reads the paper. My coaching staff will take care of that and we'll see after that. It's not because I hate the kid, it's not because I'm picking on him. You all saw the way he went about his business after he made an out.
"I want him to be the best shortstop he can be. Alexei Ramirez is not going to be winning batting titles, he's not going to win RBI titles. The only thing this kid can do is win Gold Glove. And I know he has a chance to win a Gold Glove. Well, play like a Gold Glover.
"When I made a statement in January that this kid should be one of the best shortstops in the game, one of the best shortstops for the White Sox, I meant it. I meant it because I've seen it. That's why it's my job, Joey Cora's job, to get this kid in the right place for the rest of his career.''
Cora, who works with the infielders on defense, as well as bench coach, did make it known that Ramirez had received the criticism from Guillen, and was spoken about what he did in the win.
"The information has been given, no doubt about it,'' Cora said. "I think he's played, for the most part, he has played good. But when the ugliness shows, it shows very, very ugly. Has there been a lack of focus? No doubt about it and he knows it. He should be a guy out there that is the best player on our team. He has the potential to be the best player on our team, no doubt about that. At times he gets frustrated because of his offense and he takes it to the defense, and when you're a shortstop as good as he is, that can't happen.''
What happens next? Well, that's on Ramirez.
It's not like the Sox don't have options, considering prized rookie Gordon Beckham has played most of his life at shortstop until the switch to third this season.
"That's up to him,'' Cora added, when asked what's next. "It's like giving up at-bats. Sometimes you go up there and give up an at-bat. Well, he goes out there and gives up a defensive play that shouldn't be given up. That can't happen.
" He's young and he hasn't had as much experience as we all think, at least not on the big-league level. This is his second year, so hopefully he learns from this experience. He knows he's a great shortstop, he can play defensively with anyone else in this game, but it's a matter of taking a little bit more pride in it.''

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This page contains a single entry by Joe Cowley published on June 26, 2009 3:16 PM.

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