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Manager Gene Lamont of the Chicago White Sox angrily...

By FRED McMANE

TORONTO -- Manager Gene Lamont of the Chicago White Sox angrily confronted George Bell prior to Friday night's American League playoff game with the Toronto Blue Jays and chided the disgruntled designated hitter for his remarks about lack of playing time.

Bell told a reporter late Thursday night that he would never play for Lamont again because the manager had not shown him any respect by keeping him out of the lineup in the playoffs.

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'One thing George did was he bit the hand of one of his biggest boosters,' said Lamont. 'I don't think this type of thing can help us. I think during the season I was very patient with George.'

Bell did not play in either of the first two games in Chicago, both of which the White Sox lost, as Frank Thomas filled the DH spot. Bell was on the bench again Friday night in The Skydome as Bo Jackson was inserted in the DH position and Thomas shifted to first base.

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Jackson went 0 for 4 and struck out three times, but Lamont said he would be back in the lineup Saturday night against right-hander Todd Stottlemyre.

'Let's see, Bo is 5 for 14 lifetime with a couple of home runs against Stottlemyre and George is 1 for 10,' said Lamont. 'Jackson will be the designated hitter.'

Earlier Friday the Toronto Sun quoted Bell as saying, 'I don't respect Gene Lamont as a manager or as a man. What he's doing to me is cruel. He's not showing me any respect. I'm not the only guy in the clubhouse who feels that way. There are 10 or 11. I will not play for Gene-O again.'

Before Friday night's game Bell told a national television audience that '48 percent of the team' doesn't like or respect Lamont.

Tim Raines was one player who took exception to Bell's remark.

'I think that's George's opinion,' said Raines. 'As far as I'm concerned I don't think so. I have a lot of confidence in Gene. As a manager I back him 100 percent.'

Bell, who missed part of the season with a bad knee, said that Lamont promised him he would get into the playoffs if he rehabilitated his knee.

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'I had the knee operation, I worked my butt off,' Bell said. 'They said to get well for the playoffs. Am I supposed to take that?'

Lamont said Bell misunderstood his comments regarding the knee.

'I told him to get ready for September,' said Lamont. Bell played in September but went zero for his last 26 at-bats and finished the season with only a .217 batting average with 13 homers and 65 RBI.

'The reason George is so upset is that I put Bo Jackson into the lineup instead of him,' said Lamont. 'It's that simple. I think Bo is swinging the bat better than George right now.'

On Wednesday Jackson also expressed some displeasure at not playing in the first two games and Lamont acknowledged that it was difficult to keep everyone satisfied with their roles in a short series.

'I don't think there's any chance of keeping 25 players happy,' Lamont conceded. 'It's a little easier during the regular season, but in the playoffs you can't do it. But if you're going to manage you have to deal with a lot of egos.

'You can't keep everybody happy. There aren't enough at-bats. Maybe we should go to slow pitch softball rules where you play 10 players.'

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Lamont said Bell did not apologize for his remarks and he didn't expect one. However, he said if the situation arose where he felt Bell could help the team he would not hesitate to use him.

'I didn't like some of the things he said, he didn't like some of the things I said,' said Lamont. 'He didn't apologize. George is George. If I think George is the type of guy to come in and win a game for us then I'll use him.'

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