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Moreno: Guillen’s Suspension Justified

Times Staff Writer

Those who believe the Angels were too harsh in their punishment of Jose Guillen contend the team was well aware of the outfielder’s history of volatility and should have braced itself for an outburst like Saturday’s, when Guillen’s petulant reaction to getting pulled for a pinch-runner earned him a suspension for the rest of the season without pay.

“I don’t buy that argument,” Angel owner Arte Moreno said before Wednesday night’s game against the Texas Rangers. “He didn’t want to come to an organization in a situation where he had two strikes against him. This wasn’t based on anything but his [behavior].

“We signed him for his skills, and he’s demonstrated those skills. But all employers have rules, and we expect them to abide by those rules.... It’s very black and white. There’s nothing subjective about it. He has to understand that we are a team.”

Moreno witnessed Saturday’s incident, in which Guillen showed up Manager Mike Scioscia in front of a sellout crowd and a national television audience and clearly put his interests ahead of the team, but the owner said he was not the driving force behind the decision to suspend Guillen.

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“Bill Stoneman [Angel general manager] called me, he said the coaches had a meeting [and came to a decision], and I supported their position,” Moreno said. “To me, we want our players to represent the team, and any actions that don’t reflect that need to be addressed.”

The Major League Baseball Players Assn. filed a grievance in an effort to have the suspension overturned, and a hearing is scheduled for Friday in the Bay Area. Even if an independent arbitrator orders the Angels to reinstate Guillen immediately, Guillen is not expected to play again this season -- or in the postseason -- for the Angels.

Guillen, who signed a two-year, $6-million deal last winter, is under contract for $3.5 million in 2005. Asked if Guillen would be back in Anaheim next season, Moreno said, “Those are decisions for the baseball people.”

Moreno said the Angels have received “dozens” of e-mails and letters regarding Guillen, with “a majority” of them supporting the Angels’ hard-line stance.

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“A lot of parents and coaches are saying it’s great to see an organization that represents the team,” Moreno said. “They think kids should have a responsibility to the team.”

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Texas shortstop Michael Young, a former La Puente Bishop Amat High standout, singled in a run in the third inning and reached on an infield single in the ninth, giving him 211 hits, and surpassing Mickey Rivers’ club record of 210 hits in 1980.... Angel designated hitter Troy Glaus struck out against Jeff Nelson with two on to end the sixth inning and is hitless in 12 at-bats with six strikeouts against the Ranger reliever.... Moreno said he expected to finalize a deal for a spring-training site -- either an expansion of the Angels’ current complex in Tempe, Ariz., or a new facility in Goodyear, Ariz., by early November.


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