White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen tells Marlins' Cabrera to lose weight
CHICAGO -- Miguel Cabrera's recent weight gain hasn't escaped the notice of his countryman and mentor, Ozzie Guillen.
The subject came up again during their late dinner Sunday evening after the Marlins flew into town for this three-game interleague series with the White Sox. Guillen was blunt as ever with reporters Monday when asked about their conversation.
"I'm a little upset with him," said Guillen, the former Marlins third-base coach now in his fourth season managing the White Sox. "I said, 'You're still young. You're going to keep getting bigger.' He knows he's got a problem. We talked about it."
Guillen challenged Cabrera, 24, to get in better shape last winter in Venezuela, and Cabrera reported to spring training looking noticeably slimmer. But the combination of a strained oblique in April and some slippage in his commitment to conditioning has led to a much snugger uniform and some criticism in the media.
Even Guillen couldn't resist teasing his friend during a recent phone call, telling Cabrera he looked like he had a "lot of arepas" in his burgeoning belly.
"When you're young and you're good, you can get away with a lot of stuff," Guillen said. "When you're getting older and you go down, they say you're fat. Right now it's, 'Oh, he's a little chubby. He likes to eat.' When you're not hitting .340 with 40 home runs, they're going to call you a fat boy from Venezuela. You'd better lose some weight."
Part of the problem, Guillen said, is cultural.
"When your mom is Venezuelan and your wife is Venezuelan, you're going to get fat because they like to cook," Guillen said. "When you sit there for lunch and you see all the food, you're going to eat it. The good thing is he knows about it."
Guillen isn't asking Cabrera to go on any crash diets, just to watch what he eats a little more closely.
"Miggy is not going to be a small kid; he never will," Guillen said. "I just told him, 'You have to take care of yourself because you have a chance to be one of the best players ever from our country.' Miggy is going to be a Hall of Famer. There's no doubt."
As long as Cabrera gets his weight under control, Guillen sees no reason why he shouldn't be able to remain at third base for years to come. He raved about his natural athleticism and said he is a "way better player" than Andres Galarraga, the only Venezuelan to win a batting title in the majors.
If Cabrera doesn't make a change soon, however, "He's going to play in the Mexican League," Guillen joked.