Friday, July 24, 2009

Guillen is back -- but will that be enough?

        Carlos Guillen was one of the first Tigers to arrive at Comerica Park on Friday morning. “I need to find my bats,” he explained. Guillen is back.
        Another early arrival, nearly four hours before the start of Friday’s crucial day-night doubleheader against the Chicago White Sox, was speedster Josh Anderson. He was immediately summoned to manager Jim Leyland’s office. Anderson is gone.
        In an effort to jump start their dormant offense, the Tigers recalled Guillen, who for now will serve as their designated hitter against right-handed pitchers only, and designated Anderson for assignment, which gives the team 10 days during which they will try to trade him.
        However, both Leyland and president/GM Dave Dombrowski admitted Friday that the switch-hitting Guillen, who has been sidelined with a sore right shoulder, is not yet ready to play left field -- or to bat right handed against left-handed pitchers.
        “We’re going to take our time with that,” Dombrowski said.
        Will the return of Guillen be enough to snap the slumbering Tiger hitters out of their funk?
        “Does this help? Yes, this helps,” Leyland said. “Carlos Guillen is a professional major league hitter.
        “But it can’t be just one guy,” the manager cautioned. “We need consistency throughout our lineup.”
        The return of Guillen, even if it is only part-time for now, will mean less playing time for Marcus Thames, who will play left field more often, now that Anderson is gone, but DH much less.
        Guillen, who had not played in the big leagues since May 4, was in the starting lineup for both games against Chicago on Friday. Guillen batted .571 in two rehab games at Triple-A Toledo. Prior to that, he hit .250 in five games with the Tigers’ Class A subsidiary at Lakeland.
        If the Tigers are unable to trade Anderson, they could assign him to Toledo. But that appears unlikely. “My instinct is we will probably make a move with his contract elsewhere,” Dombrowski said.
        The departure of Anderson, by the way, leaves the Tigers with even less speed. Curtis Granderson is again the only legitimate base stealer on the team.
        “At the time we got him (Anderson), we thought  “Does this help? Yes, this helps. Carlos Guillen is a professional major league hitter. he would be an added plus for us,” Dombrowski explained. “But, offensively, he has struggled.
        “I really thinks he’s a 24th, 25th guy. He would probably be a real good extra guy to move around. But because of injuries and offense, he has had to play more than we probably would have liked.”
        As a result of that over-exposure, Anderson batted .242 in 74 games.



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