07/11/09 7:26 PM ET
Guillen to begin rehab stint Monday
Veteran working way back from shoulder inflammation
By Mike Scott / Special to MLB.com
Guillen has been sidelined since May 5 with right shoulder inflammation. The veteran admits that the past few days have felt like Spring Training, but he feels strong and healthy. He took batting practice on the field with his teammates all weekend and appeared to be at full strength.
"I feel good," Guillen said. "If I feel good after one week [of the rehabilitation assignment] maybe I'll buy my own ticket to come back to Detroit."
Detroit manager Jim Leyland said that Guillen looks strong and that the switch-hitter has performed well from both sides of the plate during practice. The plan is for Guillen to start in Lakeland and then play some games up in Triple-A Toledo before being called back up.
"He'll be ready," Leyland said. "Right now, he just needs a bunch of at-bats."
Guillen isn't sure whether he will be playing in the field or serving as a designated hitter -- or both -- while on his rehab assignment. It doesn't matter to Guillen, who is ready to get back out on the field.
"I can do everything I need to right now," Guillen said, adding he wants to return to Detroit as quickly as possible.
There isn't a set plan for how long Guillen will be on his rehab assignment. And Leyland isn't worried about getting Guillen a certain number of at-bats from both sides of the plate.
"That doesn't worry me," Leyland said. "He'll get what he gets. But it's about him getting at-bats."
When Guillen does return to the Tigers' lineup, that will amount to something similar to a late-season trade, given that he only played about one month of the season thus far.
"Having him back will be a big bat we will add to our lineup without having to give anything up in a trade," Leyland said. "Picking up a switch-hitter like that who is healthy would be great for us."
Negro League weekend: The Tigers hosted their seventh annual Negro League weekend, which included several events during the Cleveland series. Ten former Negro League players, current and former Tigers players and special guests were involved in the festivities.
Former Negro Leagues player Melvin "Buck" Duncan threw the ceremonial first pitch Saturday night. Several others Negro League players were honored during an on-field, pregame ceremony.
Curtis Granderson and Edwin Jackson said that the Negro League activities this weekend meant a great deal to them personally as African-American Major League players.
"I don't necessarily think of myself as a role model for other African-American pitchers or ballplayers, but I know there aren't many of us [pitching in the Majors]," Jackson said. Granderson, Jackson and several of their teammates purchased tickets for inner-city youth from Detroit and the surrounding areas for this weekend's games celebrating the Negro Leagues.
"I think it is important to keep African-Americans not only playing the game, but interested in baseball," Granderson said.
Leyland eager to watch Inge: Leyland isn't worried about Brandon Inge participating in Monday's Home Run Derby in St. Louis. In fact, Detroit's skipper admitted that he might look forward to watching the Derby more than the actual All-Star Game just to see how Inge performs.
"I think it's great. The talk about [the Derby] messing him up is just talk-show mentality," Leyland said. "It's a fun time for him that's what it is."
Leyland said that if the Home Run Derby had an adverse effect on a player's swing, players like Joe Mauer wouldn't agree to participate in the event.
"That's just talk shows stirring up some controversy," Leyland said. "[Participating in the Derby] has nothing to do with how Inge will do in the second half."
He did admit that Inge will find out that the Derby is a bit of a "grind."
"It's a great event, but I will say it's too long," Leyland said.
Mike Scott is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.