December 1st, 2010

Leyland: Guillen in mix at second base

The Tigers haven’t quite come up with a set definition of Carlos Guillen’s role so far this offseason, partly because of the injury concerns coming off knee surgery. It becomes a bigger issue now that Victor Martinez will be getting the bulk of the at-bats at DH.
On Tuesday, however, manager Jim Leyland confirmed what many have suspected for a while: If Guillen is healthy, he’s going to be in the mix at second base.
“Nobody’s talking about Carlos Guillen,” Leyland said on the Tiger Talk radio show Tuesday night. “I think that’s a big key. I said that last year. If you get Carlos Guillen close to what he was, particularly offensive, he can be a big key at that position. He’s going to be involved in that mix for sure.
Leyland was the guest on the season premiere of the Tiger Talk show Tuesday night. You can grab the link to the show archive here or listen live to the weekly program. 
Leyland talked with Tigers radio voice Dan Dickerson and Pat Caputo about the Tigers offseason so far, but some of his best remarks were about current players and where they fit in. That includes Guillen, whose season-ending knee injury from a Brett Gardner slide in August put his role in question, mainly with the question of whether he’ll be ready for the start of next season. That’s looking a little more likely now.
At season’s end, Leyland and team president/general manager Dave Dombrowski raised the idea of Guillen rotating positions next season, getting at-bats around the infield and maybe one of the corner outfield spots. But it was clear that as long as Guillen’s health was a question mark, the Tigers had to look at their options at second base.
They still have those options — Scott Sizemore and Will Rhymes are heading into their sophomore seasons, while Danny Worth is expected back from his foot issues — but they also have Guillen.
“Danny Worth is the best defender of that group,” Leyland said. “Rhymes showed us a spark. Sizemore looked much better when he came back. and like I said, Carlos Guillen is still a wild card.”
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