Guillen hoping to play winter ball?

A story out of the Venezuelan newspaper El Universal quotes Carlos Guillen as hoping to play in the Venezuelan Winter League in order to help him get ready for both his new position in left field with the Tigers and for the World Baseball Classic, wherever he plays for Venezuela. Guillen said it will depend on whether the Tigers give him the go-ahead to play, but that his back feels fine and that he’s physically able to play, which he had also told MLB.com last week.

If Guillen does play, the report says, it’ll be in mid to late December. He would play for Magallanes, the same club for which his good friend Freddy Garcia is expected to pitch.

Guillen is also helping to put together a charity softball game for next week in his hometown of Maracay. Fellow Tigers Magglio Ordonez and Miguel Cabrera are expected to take part, and Placido Polanco and Edgar Renteria could do the same.

UPDATE @ 5:45pm: Team president/GM Dave Dombrowski said they’ve heard the rumor about Guillen and winter ball in the Venezuelan papers this offseason, but that they have not had any discussions with Guillen about it. Dombrowski confirmed that Guillen would need the go-ahead from the Tigers to play. Keep in mind that the Dominican and Venezuelan players receive a lot of pressure back home to play winter ball, and that can prompt some of the stories.

6 Comments

That softball game would be a lot of fun to see all of those guys in a fun, relaxed setting. I am mixed on Carlos – since he missed so much of the end of the season it would be good to get back into form, but am betting with his experience he shouldn’t need it, spring training should do it. He needs to rest and get completely healthy, the major league season is long and we need him the whole season.

One thing to keep in mind on this, and I probably should’ve mentioned this yesterday, is the World Baseball Classic. Guillen has mentioned in the past that he didn’t feel like they were completely prepared for the WBC going in, and that point seemed to show in the offense. After going through the original WBC in 2006, I expect some of the returning players to try to ramp up their preparations and get more hitting than usual before the tournament. They’ll have to find a way to do it without playing winter ball, whether that means going to Spring Training early or working out in groups in January.

jason i have a question- with guillen and a host of injuries to other players throughout the season, is anyone from the Tigers front office looking into a new strength and conditioning program for the offseason and throughout the regular?
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just seems that the past 3 years, they have been awful in the 2nd half (even though this past season was awful in both halves…)
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the weird injuries zumaya gets exempt, but what about the other pitchers who have ‘tired arms’ and all the muscle pulls that sheff and others had, (dont remember the exact name but it came up a lot.. lateral median or something like that…. )
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just seems to me that looking into the strength and conditioning part of the team or the medical staff they imploy might do some good.. **shrug**
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mike

It’s a fair concern, and the Tigers have individualized their offseason programs according to the player and what their focus needs to be heading into the next season. What they’ve tried to do in recent years is to keep regular tabs on how the players are following them. Strength and conditioning coach Javair Gillett makes visits with players over the winter.

As for the recurring injuries, some of them can’t be helped no matter the offseason programs. Surgeries and shoulder problems altered Sheffield’s offseason training for several years; this is the first winter he’s been really healthy. The Tigers have had concern in the past about the amount of throwing Robertson did in the offseason until he cut back. He’s now on a significantly different program that includes pilates to increase his flexibility.

That was a good question, Mike, and this is an interesting thread. Now, the only pilates I’m familiar with is Pontius and his family, but I do think that the amount of injuries has increased MLB-wide. I wonder about the weight training these guys are doing. Seems to me flexibility is paramount when playing baseball, so hail pilate.
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I also wonder how many of our guys, especially the latino stars, play competitive baseball year round? I’d think you’d go past keeping sharp to losing your mental edge. The one consistent with recent Tigers teams is that second half nosedive. We’re talking four consecutive seasons of this happening. Any thoughts on that?
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–Rich

Thanks Jason for all your articles concerning what management is contemplating and the various trade scenarios in play. Your feedback on how the youngens are performing in the various leagues is also much appreciated.
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I like your thoughts Mike and Rich about injuries and particularly the late season fades.
Our fades, together with the closer and one starting pitcher role is easily the biggest issue the club needs to address. What differentiates between the great teams stepping up when it counts and the pretenders falling away? I hope Jason that you can delve into this issue.
Pilates or other intensive stretching is a must particularly prior to and after exercise. I am a late convert to the view that a regular chiropractic visit is also a must.
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I maybe reading too much into your news articles but it seems there has been a philosophical change by management back to trusting the farm system. We had been seemingly hellbent trading away the farm for name players generally past their prime. Spending the bank the past 2 seasons does limit your options.
It is essential for the confidence of players up from AAA and below that management is supportive and believes in their ability. Obviously feeling the pressure for sticking day after day with Sheff and other high paid under-achievers, I am sure JL regrets his comment(s) during the season about the AAA players not delivering. It is amazing what returns you may get if unreserved faith is shown in your players with future rather than past potential.
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Obviously early days but the appointment of Knapp looks a good one in keeping with this new approach. I particularly liked that he was comfortable with Jones being resigned. Easily the most effective long term change agents are the ones who are comfortable developing existing resources rather than the type who slash and burn and need their own team parachuted in.
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Isn’t it good. I have almost totally forgotten 2008.

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