Giants’ Bochy Pulled Guillen Over Health Concerns, Not Performance Drugs Allegation
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SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – San Francisco Giants manager Bruce Bochy said he decided to leave Jose Guillen off the postseason roster before learning of the outfielder’s alleged link to a federal investigation into shipments of performance-enhancing drugs.
Speaking to reporters Saturday before Game 3 of the World Series, Bochy reiterated that Guillen was not put on the roster for the NL division series against Atlanta—or the rest of the postseason—because of his troublesome neck. Bochy didn’t believe Guillen was 100 percent and already had committed to go with Cody Ross as the starter in right field, even if Guillen had still been on the club.
“That decision was made before all this came out,” Bochy said. “I told Jose that I felt he wasn’t 100 percent. Cody Ross was going to be out there.”
The New York Times reported on its website Thursday night, citing several unidentified lawyers, that federal authorities told Major League Baseball they were looking into shipments of human growth hormone, allegedly sent to Guillen’s wife in the Bay Area.
That was just before the postseason began, The Times said. A person in Major League Baseball confirmed the investigation to The Associated Press on Thursday night. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the probe was ongoing.
Bochy said he hasn’t spoken to Guillen since right before the team traveled to Atlanta for Game 3 of the division series Oct. 10. Bochy declined to say when he found out about Guillen’s alleged connection to the HGH investigation.
“He was going to stay in San Francisco and said, ‘I’ll be ready if something happens,”’ Bochy said. “In my eyes, he helped us win a couple of ballgames but it looked like his neck was bothering him more than he was letting on. … When we got him, he was swinging the bat fairly well, but I think the playing time caught up with him.”
The 34-year-old Guillen, plagued by injuries in recent years, joined the Giants in a trade from the Kansas City Royals on Aug. 13. He batted .266 with three homers and 15 RBIs in 42 games for the NL West champions.
Guillen has been tied to performance-enhancing drugs before. The San Francisco Chronicle reported in 2007 that he allegedly purchased more than $19,000 worth of HGH, steroids and other drugs from the Palm Beach Rejuvenation Center between May 2002 and June 2005.
MLB suspended Guillen for 15 days following the report, then rescinded the penalty in May 2008 as part of a deal between players and owners to toughen the sport’s drug rules.
Guillen has played for 10 teams since breaking into the big leagues with Pittsburgh in 1997. He is a .270 career hitter with 214 homers and 887 RBIs.
Guillen was suspended by the Angels for the last two weeks of the 2004 regular season and postseason for inappropriate conduct after expressing his displeasure with manager Mike Scioscia. After the year, Guillen was traded to the Washington Nationals.
In July 2008, Guillen got into a heated clubhouse exchange with Royals pitching coach Bob McClure, knocking over chairs before several players separated them before a game at Tampa Bay. Guillen also unleashed a profanity-filled tirade against his teammates that May.
In July, baseball implemented random blood testing for HGH in the minor leagues, the first professional sports league in the United States to take the aggressive step against doping.
Testing was limited to players with minor league contracts because they are not members of the players’ association, which means blood testing is not subject to collective bargaining. The players’ association has long been against blood testing for HGH, though the union has discussed the issue with MLB.
Bochy spoke with several of Guillen’s former managers and coaches before the Giants acquired him and received good reports. The manager also talked to Guillen himself.
Three years ago, the outfielder-designated hitter signed a $36 million, three-year contract that made him the Royals’ highest paid player per year in team history. He was leading the Royals with 62 RBIs and 16 home runs when he was designated for assignment on Aug. 5 this year.
Guillen struggled with injuries in Kansas City. He played in only 81 games last year and hit nine homers, tied for his fewest since 2002. He was out for weeks after injuring his knee while putting on a shin guard and missed several days of spring training in 2009 after deciding to rip out an ingrown toenail with a pair of pliers.
This season, Guillen struggled with a left quadriceps injury and ended his stint in Kansas City in an 0-for-21 slump.
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