Notes: Sheff's other shoulder acts up

Notes: Sheff's other shoulder acts up

DETROIT -- Gary Sheffield's ailing right shoulder is starting to feel better. Now his left shoulder is bothering him.

While Sheffield missed his fourth consecutive game with shoulder problems, he said Monday he expects to be back in the lineup by the end of this four-game series, possibly Wednesday. But he's still dealing with numbness and lack of strength in his right hand, and now a cortisone shot in his left shoulder.

It's his second cortisone shot in just over a week, but the previous one was in his right shoulder. His right one felt well enough to try swinging a bat Sunday, but when he did, he felt discomfort in the left one. He expects that came about from all of the time he spent compensating for the problems on the right.

"My left side's been carrying my right for so long, that one started acting up," Sheffield said. "So it's going to take another two days. When I picked up the bat, I started feeling good with the right. I started swinging and now I felt that noticeable pain. I didn't want to get this close with my right arm, come back and not be right with my left. It's the one I had the major surgery on."

As for his right shoulder, he said he's feeling progress, though it's still not as much as he'd like. He has trouble squeezing the bat, but that should subside. At this point, he just wants to get enough strength back to get by, which he expects in another day or two.

"I'm not sure if I'll get all the strength back," he said, "but I should get enough back to be able to play."

Guillen at DH: One side effect of Sheffield's absence is that manager Jim Leyland has been able to use the open spot at designated hitter to give some of his position players a day off in the field. After back-to-back such days for first baseman Sean Casey, Monday was Carlos Guillen's turn.

It was Guillen's first start at a position other than shortstop this season. He has made 96 starts at short.

"I'm trying to rest his knee a little bit," said Leyland, referring to Guillen's left knee. "It bothers him to go from side to side."

DH-ing Guillen isn't really an option once Sheffield returns, especially since Sheffield's injury came in one of his rare days in the field. Asked about the possibility of using Guillen in spots at first base, Leyland said it's an option, but it would cost him a left-handed hitter if he did it against right-handed pitchers.

Thames headed for Toledo: Marcus Thames' rehab stint is now set. He'll head down to Triple-A Toledo on Tuesday for what is hoped to be a two-day stint to test out his left hamstring and get his timing back at the plate. After a game at DH and another at first base, the Tigers hope to be able to activate Thames from the DL Thursday and start him at first against Devil Rays left-hander Scott Kazmir.

New dad Durbin ready for start: Chad and Crystal Durbin's newborn son Cade is in special care, but he's expected be released in a few days. With his son's health in relative security now, Durbin rejoined the Tigers on Sunday to find out he's back in the rotation.

Durbin will start in injured Andrew Miller's place Wednesday, making his first start since June.

"It's not good news by any means," Durbin said, since it means Miller and Kenny Rogers are hurt. "But it's news, and it's how it needs to be done."

He does not believe rust will be a factor, since he threw in four of six days before leaving the team to go home for the birth.

"This time of the year, you're not going to completely lose touch with where you were [after a few days off]," he said.

Rodney's ready: Fernando Rodney said he felt the difference in his strength as he fired away with fastballs in the eighth inning of Sunday's loss. His fastball, once as low as 90 mph this season, was back up to 94-95, making his changeup that much more effective.

"My body's good," he said. "Everything now kind of feels the right way."

Rodney credited the difference to simple rest, allowing his arm to strengthen away from the wear and tear. He could feel the difference as soon as his first rehab outing for Triple-A Toledo. He doesn't know whether he can keep it up in Detroit, but he knows he's at least in shape to try.

"The only thing I've got on my mind right now," he said, "is to go into the game, try to do the best I can and keep the game close."

Pudge scratched: Ivan Rodriguez was a late scratch from the lineup Monday with a sore left foot. He originally injured it two weeks ago at Chicago.

Coming up: Nate Robertson (6-9, 5.05) will try to end his personal three-game losing streak Tuesday night when he takes the mound against the Devil Rays at Comerica Park. Jason Hammel (1-1, 5.40) will start for Tampa Bay in the 7:05 p.m. ET start.

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.