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Ozzie and Cabrera clear the air

Ozzie and Cabrera clear the air

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ST. PETERSBURG -- A pregame meeting between Ozzie Guillen and shortstop Orlando Cabrera on Friday left the White Sox manager "really excited" about the get-together and echoing the veteran's exact sentiments following Thursday's 5-1 victory.

"We're fine," said Guillen of his relationship with Cabrera. "He never offended me by any reason. I believe you have to say what you feel, you have to say what you think."

This week-long controversy, seemingly retold hundreds of times, began with an article addressing Cabrera twice making calls to get errors against him changed in two different games. Guillen sounded a warning of sorts to Cabrera, as to how these sorts of actions could be taken wrong by his teammates or the media, to which Cabrera responded that he would make the same move again because he didn't feel as if Guillen was supporting him.

There also was talk of Cabrera being somewhat distant from his teammates, usually emerging as one of the quickest players out of the clubhouse after the game. But there was Cabrera on Thursday, after moving within one hit of 1,500 for his career, waiting for the media after the victory and adding how everything was cool with his manager before his talk with reporters ended.

And there was Cliff Floyd, talking to MLB.com earlier in the day on Thursday, speaking out on Cabrera's behalf, calling him an always positive and upbeat positive influence. So, the question was asked to Guillen before Friday's game as to whether the real Orlando Cabrera had yet to be seen by his White Sox teammates?

"That could be," said Guillen of Cabrera's Chicago demeanor. "That's why I don't want people to think Cabrera is a bad guy. He's a good player. He's not a selfish guy. When he made the comment about being selfish, I know what he means. I know what he wanted to say.

"Maybe some people don't. It's funny, because I don't think Cabby lets his teammates know him really well. Cabby is the not guy who communicates with people. When he leaves early after the game, his teammates don't have a chance to get to know him. I talk to him about it.

"One bad thing here, we have too many good guys here and that's the problem," Guillen added. "When you have a team that sticks and hangs together, all of a sudden somebody seems like, 'Oh wait, this guy is on the same page or not?' And I know he's on the same page. He has to show them he's on the same page as they are."

Friday's meeting between the two sides in Guillen's office finally means the focus can go back to on-field action and a team sitting atop the American League Central, with 12 wins in its last 15 games. Guillen also believes this saga will evolve as nothing more than one minor misstep during Cabrera's Chicago journey.

"Most of what we talked about was as a friend, not as a manager," Guillen said. "When you have problems with my players, I want to talk to them as a friend.

"I think he [dug] his own hole, but everything was nice and clean. I was really pleased because he showed me how much respect he has for his teammates, that's No. 1, and for the organization, that's No. 2, and for me, that's No. 3. I worry more about what his teammates think about the problem than what I was thinking."

Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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