Guillen Not Giving Up On Season Just Yet

In a week that started with Detroit Tigers third baseman Brandon Inge make a surprising rehab start with the West Michigan Whitecaps, it's only fitting that it would end with another Detroit Tiger making a rehab start.

On the same day that former Tigers great Mike Henneman made an appearance, Tigers second baseman Carlos Guillen, who strained his hamstring a few weeks ago against the Toronto Blue Jays, came to the friendly confines in Comstock Park to play for the 'Caps.

However, unlike Inge, Guillen plans on staying with West Michigan for a few days.

"The most important thing is health," Guillen said prior to Friday's contest against the Great Lakes Loons, who saw Inge just a few days ago. "I just want to see how I feel, and work on my timing. When I feel ready to go, I'll go back to the big leagues."

Guillen comes off of the disabled list on Monday, and plans on returning to Detroit on that day, pending any injuries. When asked how many games he will play with the Whitecaps, Guillen said that he would play in Dayton on Saturday, but wasn't sure whether or not he'd make a third start with the team on Sunday.

Guillen is just one of many Detroit Tigers to suffer through injuries this season. Inge returned to the lineup on Wednesday, while RHP Joel Zumaya is out for the season, and OF Magglio Ordonez is out for an undisclosed amount of time.

"It's a long season, and the season isn't over," Guillen said. "We still have a pretty good chance. It's frustrating because Magglio is hurt, Brandon missed two weeks, and Joel is out for the season."

"It's part of the season," Guillen continued. "Some teams struggle early, and some teams struggle late. There have been a lot of injuries, and you have to keep everybody healthy if you want to win. Zumaya was a big piece in the bullpen, and Magglio is one of the best hitters in the game right now. I think we're going to get better; the season isn't over and we have a lot of material to get better."

While the talent that Guillen is seeing in the Midwest League may not be as challenging as he is used to, he isn't approaching his rehab stint any differently than any other game.

"It's all baseball. It doesn't matter who you're playing against, you're just going to see the baseball, and try to make contact," Guillen said. "I'm here to get comfortable, and try to do the best that I can for this team and win ball games."

Guillen, who's hitting .280 with 30 RBI on the season with Detroit, missed a large part of last season due to injury, causing people to question his durability.

Guillen, however, is confident that he can still play at the professional level.

"Right now, I'm a big leaguer," Guillen said. "I'm going to be the one to decide I can't play. No one is going to decide that for me."

Guillen said that many of the players who stepped up from Toledo have been doing a pretty good job of filling in the gaps left by injury.

"They're good players, and they're trying to do their best," Guillen said. "It's been a tough last month, but until it's over you have to keep playing hard for nine innings. You don't look behind, you just look forward."

Guillen also credits the acquisition of infielder Jhonny Peralta as a boost to the organization.

"He's a pretty good player," Guillen said. "He's an RBI guy. He can play shortstop and he can play third base. He's a great player, and he knows how to play the game really well."

Guillen ended his day in West Michigan going 0-2 with a walk. While he wasn't great at the plate, he was able to beat out a throw to first on a fielder's choice, giving Tigers fans hope that his hamstring may be healed. With his likely return to Detroit's lineup on Monday, the Tigers will be close to full strength, as they will only be missing Ordonez and Zumaya.

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