September 18th, 2010

Guillen has microfracture knee surgery (updated)

The Tigers provided some info this morning on Carlos Guillen’s knee surgery from yesterday in New York. Guillen underwent what the club called microfracture surgery on the left knee as well as a “surgical clean-up of the degenerative changes” in the knee.

That doesn’t mean there was a fracture on the knee, and it doesn’t mean the injury came entirely from the hit. Head athletic trainer Kevin Rand compared it to a divot on the bone that might have become worse over time until the collision with Brett Gardner last month made it unplayable. The microfracture surgery promotes the healing.

Guillen won’t be able to put weight on the knee for 6-8 weeks, and won’t begin physical activity for four months, which would put him on a rehab track for January. If the surgery is successful, Guillen could be ready for Opening Day, but the feeling isn’t strong enough to say that he will.

Suffice to say, that could have a major impact on how the Tigers proceed this offseason at second base and with their search for some offense. Team president/general manager Dave Dombrowski didn’t want to talk about their future plans just yet, but he did not backtrack from comments he made last week to WDFN that they could have Will Rhymes and Scott Sizemore at second base going into next year and feel good about it.

Valverde out until further notice

The Tigers are holding out closer Jose Valverde until further notice with an unspecified injury, potentially a recurrence of the tenderness around his elbow that bothered him last week.

“He’s not right,” manager Jim Leyland said, “and I’m not going to pitch him. He’s off until he tells me he’s able to pitch, and he’s not able to pitch right now.”

Leyland would not go into details about the injury, but Valverde’s earlier issues would seemingly suggest it’s related to that. Valverde was not available for comment.

Valverde went more than a week between outings before he returned to pitch a scoreless innings with a walk Wednesday at Texas. He threw just two out of 11 pitches for strikes, but they both went for groundouts. After a four-pitch walk, his inning ended with Gerald Laird threw out David Murphy trying to steal second base.

It marked just the second scoreless performance in Valverde’s last six outings, though one of those featured an unearned run over three innings in a victory September 2 over the Twins.

Leyland said Phil Coke will serve as the closer for the time being. He will not be used before the ninth inning in those situations.

“I don’t know how long that’s going to last,” Leyland said, “but that’s just the way it’s going to have to be for right now. We’re short.”