Monday, July 6, 2009

Tigers hope to have Guillen healthy before trade deadline

        It won’t show up in the box scores, but the Tigers will have a lot on the line in the next few weeks.
        A year ago, Carlos Guillen was preparing to be the Tigers’ lone representative at baseball’s  All-Star Game. On Monday, Guillen took batting practice for the first time in two months and predicted he will be back in action by the end of July.
        The Tigers hope that is true. If possible, they would like to know Guillen’s status, specifically whether or not they need to look for a replacement, before the July 31 trade deadline.
        Guillen, who turns 34 at the end of September, is signed through 2011. His contract guarantees him a salary of $13 million in each of the next two seasons.
        “I know they need me, but they need me healthy,” Guillen said Monday on his first day back from an extended stint with a physical therapist in South Florida. “The only way I’m going to help this team is if I’m healthy.”
        So far,  so good. Guillen, who took his normal number of swings from both sides of the plate on Monday and has already been throwing from 100 to 140 feet in the outfield, said he might be ready to begin his rehab assignment in the minor leagues by the end of the week.
        “I feel better, no pain,” he said.
        But Jim Leyland admitted “I have no idea” how soon Guillen might be ready to return.
        “When he gets to the point where he can go out and play, it’s not going to be a two or three-day thing,” the manager said. “It’s going to be like he’s starting over in spring training. It’s going to take a while.”
        The switch-hitting Guillen hasn’t played since May 4. He was hitting just .200, having appeared in 24 games, when his shoulder gave out.


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