Leyland Makes Guillen's Move to First Known

Manager Jim Leyland didn't want to leave things hanging over the offseason, so Leyland made it known that come 2008, he intends for Carlos Guillen to be his everyday first baseman.

INSIDE PITCH
Manager Jim Leyland didn't want Carlos Guillen stewing all winter, so this week, he introduced him to boiling water.

Leyland called Guillen into his office earlier this week and announced Friday his shortstop is going to be the Tigers' first baseman in 2008.

Guillen has played a lot of first base lately -- and played it well -- and knew the move was coming at some point, but didn't think it would come in the first year of the four-year extension he signed earlier this year.

"We can't etch it in stone, but that's the plan," said Leyland, who added he had "no idea" who the Tigers' shortstop would be next spring.

Leyland has been using Ramon Santiago at short (it was Santiago who was traded to Seattle for Guillen in 2004) but admits he doesn't feel Santiago will hit enough to be a regular at the position.

"We signed this guy because we think he's a great player," Leyland said. "He'll be a great player wherever he plays. We've got him for four more years. I want to make sure he can play.

"I think the biggest thing as far as I'm concerned is I'll have him on the field all the time. Because I think (first base) is a lot less stress."

"It's OK," Guillen said. "I don't have any problem. I just want to help this team get better. I know they'll bring in a good one. I don't know who it's going to be, but I know it's going to be a good one."

The portended move probably spells the end of first baseman Sean Casey's year-plus in Detroit.

WHITE SOX 5, TIGERS 2: Kenny Rogers struggled with his control through six innings Friday night, and a three-run home run he served up in the third proved his undoing as the Chicago White Sox clinched the season series from Detroit (10-6) and made sure the Tigers couldn't reach 90 victories this season. Rogers walked six, his most with the Tigers, and gave up seven hits and four runs. Magglio Ordonez took a big step toward clinching the AL batting championship with an RBI double in the first and a single, and his average stood at .360 after the game. Placido Polanco had a single and an RBI double and now has 198 hits.

NOTES, QUOTES
--LHP Kenny Rogers, pitching possibly the last game of his career, struggled with his control Friday night and dropped to 3-4. Rogers walked six, his high in two seasons with Detroit, and gave up seven hits. His breaking pitches lacked the bite they need for him to be at his best and his pitch count went above 100 in the sixth, his last inning.

--SS Carlos Guillen will become Detroit's regular first baseman next season, Tigers manager Jim Leyland announced Friday. Leyland had a conversation with Guillen earlier this week and the shortstop is on board with the club's intention, which Leyland said isn't set in stone. "It's OK," said Guillen, who expressed a preference for short a couple weeks ago. "I don't have any problem. I just want to help this team get better." "We signed this guy (in March) because we think he's a great player," Leyland said. "He'll be a great player wherever he plays. We've got him for four more years. I want to make sure he can play." "I know they'll bring in a good (shortstop)," Guillen said. "I know it's going to be a good one. I don't know who it's going to be, but I know it's going to be a good one."

--LHP Clay Rapada retired a left-handed hitter Friday, the only batter he faced. Despite giving up home runs to a pair of lefties already, Leyland says he sees some things he likes in the side-arming southpaw. He feels Rapada might be able to pitch in the majors, as long as it's just to lefties.

--RF Magglio Ordonez took a firm grip on the AL batting championship Friday with a 2-for-4 night that left his batting average at .360. Ordonez lined an RBI double off the glove of CF Darin Erstad in left center in the first and had a bloop single over short later. He now has 137 RBIs, only three shy of becoming just the sixth Tiger to drive in 140 in a season.

--2B Placido Polanco collected a line single and an RBI double Friday night and is two hits away from joining teammate RF Magglio Ordonez with 200 hits this season. Polanco is also two games from an error-free season.

--RHP Jose Capellan pitched a 1-2-3 eighth inning Friday night. Capellan has been working on his slider per instructions from management. He'll need to show it in the spring to make the Tigers.

BY THE NUMBERS: 3,047,133 -- Total home attendance for the Tigers in 2007, third-highest in the league and first time over three million by Detroit.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "I'd like to see another team that went through what we went through. It's frustrating, but we didn't make enough plays, didn't make enough pitches, or get enough hits to reach the playoffs. It's on us." -- RHP Todd Jones, summing up Detroit's season, which saw the club eliminated from playoffs on the day it played its 159th game.

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