Carlos Guillen might spend some time in the infield during his upcoming injury rehabilitation assignment, Tigers president/general manager Dave Dombrowski told FOXSports.com on Saturday.
If Guillen proves that he can play the infield - as he has done for the vast majority of his professional career - then the Tigers will be able to keep standout rookie Brennan Boesch in the lineup for the long term.
Guillen has experience at all four infield positions, and Detroit has had little production at third base, second base and shortstop in recent weeks.
Second baseman Scott Sizemore (.125) and third baseman Brandon Inge (.135) entered Saturday with poor batting averages in May. The shortstop tandem (Adam Everett and Ramon Santiago) has combined for a .555 OPS this season. So, it's noteworthy that Guillen took ground balls at second base and on the left side of the infield during batting practice on Saturday.
Boesch came up from the minors to replace the injured Guillen in late April, and Boesch has been too productive to send back. The Tigers have yearned for a left-handed power hitter like Boesch, who entered Saturday batting .361 with three home runs and 17 RBIs in 17 games.
In a sign of the Tigers' confidence in the rookie, manager Jim Leyland put Boesch in Saturday's lineup - as the No. 5 hitter, no less - against Jon Lester, one of the tougher left-handed starters in baseball.
Guillen, currently on the disabled list with a strained left hamstring, could begin the rehab assignment within the next week.
If Guillen can rotate through the infield, Leyland will have more opportunities to put Boesch in the lineup without sitting stars Magglio Ordonez and Johnny Damon.
Guillen has switched positions numerous times since 2007 - from shortstop to first base, from first base to third base, from third base to left field, and, more recently, from left field to designated hitter.