Notes: Guzman breaks his silence

Notes: Guzman breaks his silence

WASHINGTON -- Shortstop Cristian Guzman said he has felt very bad that he hasn't been able to produce offensively in recent weeks and that he cost the team two games after committing two errors in less than a week.

So upset was Guzman that hadn't talked to the media in more than a week. He vows that he will start producing and become the player who helped the Twins win three consecutive division titles.

Entering Tuesday's action, the 27-year-old is hitting .178 with a home run and three RBIs. He said that he has no excuses for his slow start and that he is not adjusting to National League pitching.

"Each league has nine players. Everybody throws fastballs, breaking balls and sinkers. There is no difference between the two leagues," said Guzman in an exclusive interview with

The switch-hitter said he is thankful that manager Frank Robinson has continued to insert him into the starting lineup despite his slump.

"I'm going to let everybody know who the real Cristian Guzman is -- offensively, defensively, everything," he said. "I'm working on my game, and I have a lot more games to play. I'm glad they are giving me the chance every day. I glad I don't have to look at the lineup every day, because I know I will be in there.

"I'm going to work even harder. It's just not my month. But my time will come. I want all my teammates, the media and fans to be happy."

Guzman said that he developed a newfound respect for Robinson after Monday's game. After Guzman was removed in a double-switch against the Phillies, he slammed his helmet down in front of Robinson out of frustration.

After the game, he apologized to Robinson, who accepted. Guzman believes that most skippers would have embarrassed him in front of his teammates.

"Everybody knows he's the man here," said Guzman of Robinson. "If he needs to talk to you, he'll call you into his office. He has more experience than everybody here. He has played a lot of years in the big leagues. He's a cool guy.

"I went to his office and apologized. He said, 'That's OK.' " Most managers would have asked why I threw the helmet. I told him I wasn't like that. I just want to play my game."

Not to worry: Jim Bowden's verbal agreement as interim general manager expires on Saturday, but team president Tony Tavares is confident that Bowden will have a deal in place before then.

Tavares said that Bowden is working on improving the team.

"I think if Jim could make a deal tomorrow to get us better, he would," said Tavares. "It's not because of lack of money at this point. It's an issue of [matching] up with somebody. It's a specific player we are looking for."

It's no secret that Bowden would like to add another hitter to the lineup.

The radar gun: Three days after giving up four runs in three innings against the Mets, Tomo Ohka had a bullpen session that was termed "excellent" by pitching coach Randy St. Claire.

After the session, which lasted about 15 minutes, St. Claire said that the velocity in Ohka's fastball was back in the high 80s-low 90s.

"Everything was there," said St. Claire. "The command was there, the breaking ball was much tighter and sharper, and the split was dropping. The sinker was hard and late, and the four-seamer had good life to it."

Ohka said that he had to fix a mechanical problem, but according to St. Claire, Ohka's problem is all mental.

"I think he has fallen into a rut where he's not being aggressive and attacking [the strike zone], and not throwing hard," said St. Claire. "I think he understands what's going on."

Ohka will have a long-toss session and another bullpen session before making his next start against the Dodgers next Tuesday. He had missed a turn because of Thursday's off-day.

Early start: Right-hander Esteban Loaiza will travel ahead of the Nationals and fly to Los Angeles on Sunday afternoon. He is scheduled to start against the Dodgers on Monday night.

In the meantime, the Nationals will play their first Sunday-night game, against the Mets.

An eyewitness: Robinson is testifying in front of the Senate Select Committee on aging. Robinson, 69, is hoping to tell the committee that a senior citizen can be productive in the work force.

Did you know? Entering Tuesday's action, outfielder Brad Wilkerson is tied with Troy Glaus for the National League lead in doubles, with nine.

Stat of the Day: Nick Johnson -- who is listed as day-to-day after suffering a contusion on the back of his right leg after fouling off a Jon Lieber pitch -- is the only member of the Nationals to have double figures in strikeouts (16) and walks (12).

On deck: The Nationals play the finale of their three-game series against the Phillies at RFK Stadium on Wednesday afternoon. Loaiza, who will make his fifth start as a member of the Nationals, is still looking to win his first game of the season.

Bill Ladson is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.