Sox clubbed by Yankees in opener
Guillen unhappy with umpire after his team lets up eight homers
NEW YORK -- Ozzie Guillen's comments following New York's 16-3 victory Tuesday night at Yankee Stadium packed as much wallop as the Yankees' bats did against White Sox pitching.
Guillen talked very pointedly about Jose Contreras, his struggling starter who has lost 23 times since the 2006 All-Star break and slipped to 5-14 this season, allowing seven runs on eight hits over 2 2/3 innings on Tuesday. After giving the affable right-hander every chance to work his way out of what has basically become a season-long slump, the White Sox manager mentioned how Contreras might be removed from the rotation before his next start Sunday in Detroit.
But the chat concerning Contreras simply served as the warmup act for Guillen's diatribe aimed directly at home-plate umpire Phil Cuzzi. Guillen earned his third ejection of the season and 12th of his career upon arguing Derek Jeter's check swing on Tuesday's second batter of the game.
Cuzzi asked Guillen to leave, the same ejection move he made with first baseman Paul Konerko in the sixth inning, when the less-than-argumentative Konerko disputed a called third strike. Despite the understanding that a fine or suspension could follow what he had to say about Cuzzi, Guillen did not seem shy.
"When you are a manager or a player, and you get ejected, you aren't going to win that one," Guillen said. "Look at the games, and he's always in the middle of something. I think he overreacts. I thought it was a check swing, the same swing a couple of swings before when [Jeter] hit a foul ball. One thing about [Cuzzi], and specific about him, he always has his nose in the dugout. That's not the way to respond for his job."
"If people say something out of the dugout, if things go crazy, then obviously you will turn. As soon as you hear anyone say anything, he always has his nose in the dugout.
"You can see after he tossed Konerko. He put his nose in the dugout again, screaming and arguing," Guillen added. "They suspend me for four days and they send me to anger management [in 2006]. Well, I hope the league watches this game today and see how that man was reacting to me and the players and take a real look at him and see what they can do about it."
Konerko's ejection came with the White Sox already trailing by an 11-3 margin. Jim Thome led off the inning with a single to center off of Mike Mussina (6-7), and Konerko worked the count full against the Yankees starter.
When the next pitch was called for a strike, Konerko had a few comments for Cuzzi at home plate. The argument continued when Konerko reached the dugout, as he stepped up for his angry teammates.
"I said what I said at the plate and that was it," said Konerko, who joined Jerry Owens as the only White Sox starters with two hits. "When I was walking back, I was done with it. Some guys started yelling from our bench, and he started yelling back.
"When he started yelling back at our bench, I felt I should start yelling because I'm the one who started that argument. That's when he ran me, but I wasn't going to yell again.
"No one wins an argument against an umpire, but every now and then, you have to say something," Konerko added. "If you get thrown out, you get thrown out. That's the way it goes."
Guillen and Konerko, to some extent, missed complete domination inflicted by the Yankees (57-49). New York tied a single-game franchise mark with eight home runs, which set a record for the most home runs allowed by White Sox pitchers.
Charlie Haeger yielded two long balls over 1 1/3 innings of relief, while Gavin Floyd was touched for three in three innings. Ironically, those are two of the pitchers being considered to temporarily replace Contreras.
Contreras has a 0-7 record and a 10.38 ERA over his last seven starts and has a miserable 1-10 ledger with an 8.87 ERA during his last 12 trips to the mound. Despite getting encouraged after a weekend side session with pitching coach Don Cooper, in which they fixed a flaw in his delivery and changed his position on the rubber, Contreras seems to be out of answers aside from poor location.
With these awful statistics staring back at him, Contreras also had no real response when informed of Guillen's plan for a possible change among starters.
"The way I'm going right now, it doesn't even matter if I have an opinion or not," said Contreras, through translator Ozney Guillen. "If they move me to the bullpen, that's what I'm going to do. If coming out of the bullpen is helping the team, that's what I'm going to have to do.
"I'm embarrassed for myself, my fans, my family, my team. I'm not happy with the way I'm pitching."
Juan Uribe's three-run home run in the second served as the lone highlight for the White Sox (48-58), overshadowed by long balls from seemingly every Yankees starter but Alex Rodriguez and his missed quest for 500. Guillen's ejection and ensuing on-field argument soon became as noteworthy as any other White Sox action on Tuesday.
"They came to see history," added Konerko, moving back to the 53,958 in attendance focused on Rodriguez. "They got history, just not the one they were thinking of."
Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.