Guillen to play at Triple-A this week
Infielder at ease with transition to second base
DETROIT -- Carlos Guillen's transition to second base is set to begin later this week at Triple-A Toledo and then take him on the road with the Mud Hens.
Guillen has been on the 15-day disabled list for the past four weeks with a strained left hamstring. The hope for most of the past week has been that Guillen would be ready go out on a Minor League rehab stint at the end of the Tigers' current homestand, which closes out Tuesday.
Manager Jim Leyland said Monday afternoon that Guillen will rehab with the Hens, who will be in Toledo through Friday before going on the road to Syracuse and Buffalo. Guillen said he could join the Mud Hens as soon as Thursday for their night game. He could be down there Wednesday to take ground balls, but the Mud Hens play a 10:30 ET game that morning.
With four games in Syracuse, they could encounter highly touted Nationals prospect Stephen Strasburg.
"I still remember seeing the first fastball he threw," said Guillen, recalling their Spring Training game against the Nationals in March that ended up being Strasburg's debut.
Though Guillen will undoubtedly get games at second base while he's there, how often he plays at second and how he fits in is another question. The Tigers optioned rookie Scott Sizemore to Toledo on Saturday night with the idea of getting him regular work in a lower-pressure setting. Leyland indicated that Guillen might not play second base every game while he's with Toledo.
Guillen has downplayed the transition to second base ever since the news came out Saturday night. To him, it shouldn't be a major adjustment.
"It's the same ground ball [as at any other position]," Guillen said. "It's the same baseball. It's the same fly ball."
Nor does Guillen expect it to be a long stretch, barring setbacks. His main challenge, he thinks, will be to regain his timing at the plate after so much time out of action.
Neither Leyland nor Guillen gave any indication how long they expect him to be on rehab before being activated, if things go right. The Tigers are on the West Cosat starting Wednesday until next Thursday, when they return home to start another homestand.
Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.