When the Tigers placed Carlos Guillen on the disabled list last month with a sore right shoulder manager Jim Leyland expected a quick return, saying: "Two weeks should do it."
Three weeks later Guillen admitted that he'd yet to even test the injured shoulder, the following week he underwent an MRI exam that reportedly revealed no structural damage, and two weeks after that Leyland explained that it was "going to be a while" before he was back in the lineup.
And now Jon Paul Morosi of FOXSports.com--and formerly the Tigers beat writer for the Detroit Free Press--reports that "Guillen's season will be in jeopardy if his right shoulder doesn't improve soon." Agent Peter Greenberg told Morosi that Guillen will likely opt for season-ending surgery if it doesn't look like he's close to returning by some time next month and may need to go under the knife during the offseason either way.
"He's trying to do everything he can to avoid surgery, especially since it's his throwing shoulder," Greenberg said. In the second year of a four-year, $48 million contract extension, Guillen is making $12 million this season and is owed another $13 million for each of the next two seasons.
When healthy Guillen has been one of the more underrated hitters in baseball, batting .304/.373/.484 in six seasons with Detroit after a modest start to his career in Seattle. Of course, he's also bounced all over the diamond defensively while missing one-fourth of the Tigers' games. Still, Detroit is finding it difficult to replace his bat, as Tigers left fielders rank second-to-last in the league with a .681 OPS.
By making a decision on surgery by the middle of next month Guillen would give the Tigers enough time to pursue a replacement bat prior to the July 31 trading deadline and owner Mike Ilitch said yesterday that he's willing to increase the team's payroll if necessary. In other words, Guillen or not don't count on seeing Josh Anderson and Ryan Raburn patrolling left field down the stretch.