Kenny Williams and Ozzie Guillen are both charting new courses now, what with Williams having been pushed upstairs by the White Sox and Guillen getting fired by the Marlins. For the first time since the two split last year, Williams opened up about his feelings for Guillen to CSNChicago.com’s Chuck Garfien on Friday.
“He was my friend, a very dear friend at one point in time,” Williams said. “Some of the things that have been said have hurt me, I’ll be honest with you, because I didn’t feel like it was warranted. For me personally, it’s water under the bridge. You move on. It’s unfortunate what happened down in Florida.”
Williams hasn’t been in contact with Guillen since the two parted ways with last year’s trade. The two continued working together after nearly coming to blows in a June 2010 incident, but the relationship was frayed beyond repair during the 2011 season.
All spring training there was at least some mild confusion about Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman. He played in almost no regular big league spring training games, instead, staying on the back fields, playing in simulated and minor league contests. When that usually happens, it’s because a player is rehabbing or even hiding an injury, but the Nats insisted that was not the case with Zimmerman. Not everyone believed it. I, for one, was skeptical.
The skepticism was unwarranted, as Zimmerman answered the bell for Opening Day and has played all season. As Jared Diamond of the Wall Street Journal writes today, it was all by design. He skipped spring training because he doesn’t like it and because he thinks it’ll help him avoid late-season injuries and slowdowns, the likes of which he has suffered over the years.
It’s hard to really judge this now, of course. On the one hand Zimmerman has started really slow this season. What’s more, he has started to show signs of warming up only in the past week, after getting almost as many big league, full-speed plate appearances under his belt as a normal spring training would’ve given him. On the other hand, April is his worst month across his entire 14-year career, so one slow April doesn’t really prove anything and, again, Zimmerman and the Nats will consider this a success if he’s healthy and productive in August and September.
It is sort of a missed opportunity, though. Players hate spring training. They really do. if Zimmerman had made a big deal out of skipping it and came out raking this month, I bet a lot more teams would be amenable to letting a veteran or three take it much more easy next spring. Good ideas can be good ideas even if they don’t produce immediately obvious results, but baseball tends to encourage a copycat culture only when someone can point to a stat line or to standings as justification.
Way to ruin it for everyone, Ryan. 😉