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Notes: Door is ajar for Guillen in '0510/08/2004 3:44 PM ET
By Robert Falkoff / MLB.com
BOSTON -- Although Jose Guillen and the Angels are separated for the playoffs, manager Mike Scioscia continues to say that Guillen could be back as a mainstay in the Anaheim outfield next season if certain issues can be hashed out.
Guillen, who was suspended for a late-season outburst after being removed for a pinch-runner, has expressed contrition about the incident."We certainly would welcome Jose back," Scioscia said. "It was very unfortunate that it had to be done. It has certainly taken one of our better players away at a critical time, so I think that speaks volumes on what the issues were. Obviously, we would have to work some things out, but there's nothing that says a door is closed." Scioscia spoke with Guillen last Sunday night, but there has been no dialogue between player and manager since that time. Angels right-hander John Lackey, when asked whether the Anaheim players would welcome back Guillen, deflected that topic for another time. "We're worried about winning games right now," Lackey said. "Jose is not here, so we'll cross that bridge when it comes." Scioscia said just prior to Game 3 there was no chance that Guillen would play for Anaheim in this year's playoffs. Figgins supporter: The Angels have rallied around infielder Chone Figgins, who had some fielding problems in the opening two games of the series. Figgins started at third in the opener and had a two-run throwing error in the midst of a seven-run Boston rally in the fourth inning. In Game 2, Figgins started at second and failed to make a play on Bill Mueller's slow roller to begin the seventh. The Red Sox wound up scoring the go-ahead run on Manny Ramirez's sacrifice fly. "Figgy has been just awesome," first baseman Darin Erstad said. "He has played so great. For those things to happen ... I feel bad for him and it makes no sense. Usually, the ball finds the guy who is scared. Figgy is not scared. Figgy is a gamer." Defense first: Although the Angels scored just three runs in each of the first two games, Scioscia approached Game 3 by emphasizing the importance of defense. "If you are going to make one or two errors and you don't make three or four other plays that you should make, that gives a team like Boston extra outs and you're going to pay a price for it," Scioscia said. "We start with that." Sense of urgency? The Angels made an art out of coming back from an 0-1 deficit to win playoff series in 2002. Anaheim prevailed against the Yankees, Twins and Giants after dropping Game 1. But going 0-2 at home in a five-game series against Boston made for a different type of challenge. "The mood of our club is great," Scioscia said before Friday's game. "Every challenge is an opportunity. I expect us to get into our game earlier and play well. It's a tough mountain to climb, but it isn't anything we can't do. "
Making adjustments: The Angels' projected lineup going into the season was intact for only one game this year. But Scioscia thinks more about the players who stepped up than the lineup that didn't pan out."It's tough to feel cheated when you see what guys like Jeff DaVanon, Chone Figgins and Kevin Gregg have stepped up and done for us," Scioscia said. "Figgy and J.D. were on our bench at the start of the season. The bottom line is that we have a very deep team. Injuries are a part of any championship-caliber team. Injuries are a part of baseball and we are a deep organization with guys who can fill in. That's the reason why we were able to win our division." Bulletin board material? Scioscia scanned media reports prior to Friday's game, but found no bulletin board material for his clubhouse wall. "I don't think there's anything that's out of the ordinary," Scioscia said. But in case he might have missed something that would stoke a fire under the Angels, Scioscia was willing to accept contributions. "Got anything?" a smiling Scioscia asked a reporter.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
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