Guillen considers return to switch-hitting
Tigers slugger frustrated by lack of ABs as lefty swinger
DETROIT -- The left-handed approach isn't working for Carlos Guillen. So he might end up being a switch-hitter down the stretch after all.
After a glut of opposing left-handed starters kept Guillen on the bench for much of the past week, Guillen had enough when the Royals brought in left-hander Bruce Chen in the sixth inning on Thursday afternoon. So he batted right-handed in a game for the first time since he returned from the disabled list in late July.
Guillen fouled out to first, part of an 0-for-4 performance, but the result wasn't as important as the comfort level. And Guillen felt comfortable enough that he's thinking about doing it regularly.
"I might do it every day now," Guillen said.
If he can get more at-bats out of it, he likely will.
After spending 2 1/2 months on the disabled list with inflammation in his right shoulder, Guillen returned July 24 with the limitation of batting only left-handed. The hope was that his continued shoulder workouts would allow him to bat right-handed again sometime later, but Guillen continued to struggle swinging from that side, even without swinging at a ball.
Guillen shelved the idea last month, but that was before this rash of left-handed starters. He tried batting left-handed against southpaw pitchers, but didn't feel comfortable at all.
So partly out of exasperation, partly out of his health, Guillen tried again recently and felt better doing it.
"He's hit right-handed some recently," manager Jim Leyland said. "We kind of kept that under the radar."
Thursday's start against Royals right-hander and American League Cy Young Award candidate Zack Greinke was just Guillen's third start since Sept. 9.
"I'm happy," Guillen said. "I feel comfortable. There's no pain. I just need to get some at-bats, because eight [plate appearances] in eight days [before Thursday], it's not easy for an everyday player."
Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.