Leyland weighing options at third base

Leyland weighing options at third base

DETROIT -- Tigers manager Jim Leyland said Tuesday he doesn't know yet how he'll handle third base for the next few weeks with Brandon Inge out. Still, while Carlos Guillen was ruled out of that equation, Scott Sizemore might have a chance to be ruled back in.

Leyland wasn't really up for discussing his options with reporters Tuesday, the day after Inge fractured a bone in his left hand, but he confirmed that Guillen would not be one of them.

"He's our second baseman," Leyland said of Guillen. "You can rule that out."

That was a vote of confidence for Guillen, who opened the year as an outfielder/DH until he shifted to second to replace the demoted Sizemore.

Sizemore had been handling second base since being sent to Triple-A Toledo in May, but he was in the starting lineup at third base for the Mud Hens on Tuesday night at Pawtucket. Sizemore had a solo homer and two runs scored while playing an errorless third base in the Mud Hens' win. The Tigers could decide to recall him as soon as Wednesday.

"I don't know what I'm going to do," Leyland said before the Tigers fell, 8-0, to the Rangers. "I don't have any idea. I'll have to wait and see. That's kind of on hold."

No move on third base is coming until after the Tigers can straighten out their taxed bullpen, which got a temporary boost Tuesday with the arrival of Casey Fien from Toledo. Fien took Inge's roster spot for the time being. Leyland said he had "no idea" if Detroit would go with an eight-man bullpen, though the Tigers don't have another off-day coming for another 13 days.

Don Kelly, who replaced Inge on Monday night soon after the hit-by-pitch that caused his injury, started in Inge's place Tuesday and made two great defensive plays, including a diving stop and throw across the infield that looked a lot like Inge. Asked before the game if Kelly had an opportunity to get some regular playing time with Inge out four to six weeks, Leyland was noncommittal.

"I don't know about that," Leyland said. "He is going to play some. We'll see how things unfold here. He's going to get a chance to play some."

-- Jason Beck