Guillen recalls lessons in return to DC

Guillen recalls lessons in return to DC

WASHINGTON -- Jose Guillen was back in Washington on Monday with fond memories of his two years with the Nationals.

"I got treated real well here. I had a great manager who really respected me, and I respected him: Mr. Frank Robinson," Guillen said.

"It was a great time. That was after I had the incident at Anaheim and came here, and a lot of people thought it was going to be the same. I got a really good manager who really played the game in the past and knew what baseball was all about."

Guillen was suspended for the last eight regular-season games of 2004, after a dispute with Angels manager Mike Scioscia, and was left off the postseason roster. Then, in November, the Angels traded him to the Montreal Expos, soon to move to Washington.

Some observers doubted Guillen could get along with the hard-nosed Robinson, but they meshed and remain close friends today.

"It was a great experience, something I'll never forget. A lot of the stuff I learned from Frank was great," Guillen said.

Robinson changed Guillen's approach to the game, including encouraging him to slide into second base more regularly.

"He said, 'I don't ever want to see you jog into a base. Go hard. If the second baseman stays in there, break both of his knees. That's the way you should be playing the game -- old school. You don't want to see a shortstop standing there,'" Guillen recalled.

"And in the past I used to get mad [when I was hit by a pitch], and wanted to charge the mound so many times. He took me to the side one time and told me, 'If you get hit, just go to first base and hope that a ground ball comes and you can tear into the second baseman and shortstop. That's how you get a payback.'"

There were other lessons during those 2005 and '06 seasons.

"He always told me, too, 'Don't ever argue with an umpire because as the batter, you're always going to lose.' I never do that, I never even look at the umpires," Guillen said.

"He was a great teacher. But you didn't mess with him, you went by his rules. He could get mean, too."