Guillen exits Monday's tilt early

Guillen exits Monday's tilt early

DETROIT -- For the second time in about two weeks, Carlos Guillen left a game with back problems. He was lifted from Monday's game against Cleveland with spasms in his lower back, leaving the Tigers to wonder if it's going to require more rest or another examination.

"I suspect we're going to have to take a look at that," manager Jim Leyland said.

Guillen was one of two Tigers to leave Monday's game. Marcus Thames was pulled for a pinch-runner during the Tigers' game-tying rally in the seventh after suffering a cramp in his left calf. Both players are listed as day-to-day.

Given Guillen's month-long sufferings, though, it's his injury that seems to be the greater concern.

Guillen has been dealing with back issues off and on for the past few weeks. He missed three games during the last homestand a couple of weeks ago after he was diagnosed with a pinched nerve caused by inflammation in his lower back. The problem was causing him to have numbness down his right leg, leaving him struggling to run, until a combination of medication and rest restored him.

Guillen played every game of the Tigers' road trip last week, going 7-for-20 with three doubles in the process, but Guillen's back still appeared to be an issue. Though he told Leyland he felt fine, his mannerisms suggested otherwise.

"It's think it's been bothering him," Leyland said. "He's that kind of player; he wants to go to the post. He's very proud to play and everything. I think it's been bothering him, to be honest. When he first came back, he swung pretty good. But every once in a while, you kind of cringe, because you see him take a swing and you don't feel real comfortable about it.

"Obviously I check with him every day to see if he's OK. When he came in [after four innings], he said it really tightened up and was bothering him. When that happens, you get him out of there. I know how tough he is. If something is hurting him, he's hurting."

Guillen went 0-for-2 on Monday, having been retired on a called third strike in the second inning before flying out to right in the fourth. Ryan Raburn replaced him at third when the Tigers took the field for the top of the fifth.

Leyland was waiting for a report from the team medical staff, but he considered it "very unlikely" that Guillen would play for the next couple days.

Thames was seemingly hampered trying to go from second to third on Edgar Renteria's single in the seventh. He was making his second straight start after not starting for a week. Matt Joyce pinch-ran for him and scored the tying run on Brandon Inge's ensuing infield single.

The injury bug even hit Triple-A Toledo, where Dontrelle Willis was pulled from his start after just one inning with tightness in his left forearm. He gave up a run on two hits while throwing 15 pitches, 12 of them for strikes.

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