March 29th, 2011

Guillen to see Clete Thomas’ therapist

Clete Thomas had surprising success in his rehab program coming back from microfracture surgery on his knee. Now, the Tigers are hoping the same physical therapist can help Carlos Guillen bounce back from a similar procedure.

While the Tigers break camp and head north, Guillen is going to consult with Tampa-based physical therapist Jeremy Maddox, who worked with Thomas over the offseason after his surgery last summer.

“We’re going to go with a program very similar to that, hoping to get [Guillen] over this hump,” head athletic trainer Kevin Rand said Tuesday morning.

It’s not as simple as looking at different roads back from the same surgery. Thomas had his surgery in early June; Guillen’s surgery took place in September after injuring his knee in mid-August. The injuries that prompt the surgeries are different, even if the procedure is the same.

The difference is that while Thomas was able to progress back with relatively little trouble, Guillen continues to have trouble with his surgically repaired left knee when he gets to a certain point. The Tigers aren’t treating it as an alarm that something has gone wrong, but it’s definitely a halt to the progress he had enjoyed coming into Spring Training and in the first couple weeks of camp. He took batting practice a few days ago and has taken ground balls.

“He had some increased soreness when we restarted [his program] again,” Rand said. “It’s just going to be one of those rehabs where you just have to treat him symptomically. The symptoms allow you to progress his activity. When you have to back off, you have to back off.

“It takes time, and nobody has a crystal ball as to how long that takes.”

Zumaya could begin throwing next week

The Tigers left Carlos Guillen and Joel Zumaya behind as they departed Lakeland Tuesday morning, but there’s some renewed hope that he’ll be back in a reasonable amount of time. Head athletic trainer Kevin Rand said Zumaya is scheduled to visit Dr. James Andrews on Monday in hopes of being cleared to resume throwing.

The plan when Dr. Andrews prescribed a couple weeks of rest was that Zumaya would see the good doctor again before throwing again, once the inflammation subsided. Three weeks have passed, but the Tigers have made it a point to play it cautious on their hard-throwing setup man.

Zumaya continues to work on a strengthening program back in Lakeland.

“He’s doing very well,” Rand said of Zumaya. “His range of motion has improved. His strength has improved.”

Zumaya hasn’t thrown off a mound since his only Spring Training outing Feb. 27, so he’s going to have to go through the throwing progression (play catch, long toss, bullpen sessions) before getting back into game action, either in extended Spring Training or on a rehab assignment.

Still, given the way Leyland has mentioned the challenge of replacing Zumaya in the bullpen, the sooner they can get him back, the better. Even if they didn’t take for granted he’d be back, losing him for the start of the season made a big difference in the makeup of the bullpen. Replace, say, Brayan Villarreal with Zumaya, and the seventh inning looks vastly different.

Dave Dombrowski said Tuesday morning that Zumaya and Guillen will be officially placed on the disabled list Wednesday. They’re expected to go on the 15-day DL, rather than the 60-day version. They’ll also make room on the 40-man roster Wednesday for Enrique Gonzalez, who made the team as a reliever after coming to camp as a non-roster invitee.

Tuesday: Tigers at Yankees

Before these two teams go at it for real, they’re going to go through the Spring Training version here at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Look for the regulars to play about six innings, according to Jim Leyland, before giving way to some of the minor leaguers they’ve brought over.


  1. Austin Jackson, CF
  2. Will Rhymes
  3. Magglio Ordonez
  4. Miguel Cabrera
  5. Victor Martinez, DH
  6. Brennan Boesch, LF
  7. Jhonny Peralta, SS
  8. Alex Avila, C
  9. Brandon Inge, 3B

Starting pitcher: Rick Porcello


  1. Brett Gardner, CF
  2. Derek Jeter, SS
  3. Mark Teixeira, 1B
  4. Alex Rodriguez, 3B
  5. Robinson Cano, 2B
  6. Nick Swisher, RF
  7. Jorge Posada, DH
  8. Andruw Jones, LF
  9. Russell Martin, C

Starting pitcher: Freddy Garcia