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February 15, 2007 at 11:31 AM

Controversial trainer not heading to Seattle

Well, the first day of spring training has come and gone for the Mariners without any casualties. That is, unless you count the so-called “Trainer to the Dominican Stars” who had been expected to head north as Jose Guillen’s personal fitness guru this coming season. Angel “Nao” Presinal makes his living training some of the Dominican’s top athletes, including Los Angeles Angels pitchers Bartolo Colon and Ervin Santana, and New York Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano.
But Presinal has also run afoul of MLB security types, who are concerned over his involvement in a case dating back to 2001 in Toronto when Canadian customs officials seized a bag containing steroids and vials that had come off a Cleveland Indians charter flight. There was some question about whether the bag belonged to Presinal, or to slugger Juan Gonzalez, the player he was training at the time. No charges were ever laid and Presinal parted ways with Gonzalez immediately afterwards, as reported by the New York Daily News last fall in breaking details of the case.
Following the Toronto incident, Presinal was banned from major league clubhouses and from hanging around the Dominican team at the World Baseball Classic last spring. But players continue to flock to the 54-year-old, including Guillen, who says his winter workouts with Presinal helped him get over elbow surgery and put him in the best shape of his career. Guillen was set to have Presinal accompany him to Seattle this season and on road trips to keep up his workouts.
But all that has changed in the past two days. has been running a two-part series on steroid use in the Dominican and the main story of Part II, posted on Wednesday, was all about Presinal. Guillen said on Thursday that he has since received many telephone calls from people wanting to know why he would bother linking himself to a man generating so much negative ink.
And although Guillen insists Presinal has done great work with him, he has changed his mind and decided not to bring him to Seattle.
“I was going to hire him, but now I’m just going to let it go,” Guillen said, insisting the Mariners did not put any pressure on him to make his decision. “I’m with a new team, I’ve got all that (negative) stuff in my past and now I don’t want anything negative following me here.”
Guillen took part in all of Thursday’s drills and feels no lingering effects from his elbow surgery, which kept him out most of last year’s second half. Another Mariners regular coming off an injury, Jose Lopez, continued his recovery from a sprained ankle by doing gym workouts with weights and a stationary bike. Lopez has a physical scheduled for next Monday and now hopes to start hitting by Tuesday. The plan, as of right now, is for him to start taking ground balls in two weeks and to get him into a game by the first week of Cactus League play in March.
Here’s a tip for any fans planning to show up to the Peoria Sports Complex in coming weeks: whatever you do, if you see manager Mike Hargrove walk by, do NOT, under any circumstances, ask him about being on team CEO Howard Lincoln’s so-called “Hot Seat”.
“Hot seat? You know, I’m going to tell you this,” Hargrove told the assembled media throng when a television reporter asked him about it. “And I don’t want to talk about this, not one more time all year long unless it’s the day I’m getting fired. This will be my 16th year doing this at the big league level. I’ve been good at what I do. I’m still good at what I do. Every day I wake up, every day any manager in the big leagues wakes up, he is on the hot seat. So, whether somebody publicly came out and said this, it doesn’t make any difference to me. It honestly doesn’t.
“I do what I do,” Hargrove continued. “I’m good at what I do. And if I do my job, it will take care of itself. And if not, you know what? I’m not any more on the hot seat than anyone in baseball. And I really, honest to goodness, I really do not want to hear another thing about it. I really don’t. It doesn’t (tick) me off. It gets me fired up a little bit. But it doesn’t (tick) me off or anything like that. But there will be a time to address that if it comes to that. And then we’ll address that. But (until then)…you’re (urinating) up a rope.”



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