CLEVELAND -- Carlos Guillen was the Tigers' regular starter at second base when he was healthy this summer, but he has only started there once since coming back off the disabled list last week. Guillen isn't worried about it.
It might have been a question two years ago, but it isn't now. The way this team is going, Guillen is willing to help with whatever way it needs, and he doesn't want to disrupt what Detroit has going.
"It doesn't matter if I'm playing or not playing," Guillen said Tuesday afternoon. "It's about results. Whatever they need me to do, I'll be ready.
"With the chemistry and everything, [why risk it] because one player wants to play? No, I'm happy with the position we're in as a team, with the position I'm at as a player."
This might be Guillen's best, last chance to get back into the postseason. He's a free agent at year's end, and he can't be certain about his future. But he knows what he has now. He sees a confident team with a chance to win.
"It's a lot different," Guillen said. "You can see it in everybody's face when they get to the clubhouse. It's fun to be part of this team."
Ramon Santiago started at second base on Tuesday, and manager Jim Leyland said he'll start Will Rhymes at second on Wednesday afternoon to provide some fresh legs.
Aggressive approach helps Jackson thrive
CLEVELAND -- Austin Jackson is taking a more aggressive approach at the plate these days, much to his manager's liking. He ended up running away with American League Player of the Week honors last week.
The Tigers, obviously, are hoping he carries this kind of hitting well beyond a week. If he does, Detroit's offense looks a lot more productive. Jackson was the last Tigers regular to get a hit in their 10-1 win over the Indians on Tuesday, but his skipper said that the center fielder has usually been the one priming the pump.
"He makes us go," manager Jim Leyland said.
The way Jackson hitting now, he's looking to go with a little different approach than he has had for much of the season. He's no longer concerned with working pitchers like a traditional leadoff hitter. He said last week that his at-bats tend to ebb and flow with his confidence, but he also said Tuesday that he was guilty of falling behind in the count before chasing pitches with two strikes.
"That's something that me and Skip talked about," Jackson said. "He wanted me to be more aggressive early in the count if I got a pitch to hit, rather than being that traditional leadoff hitter, seeing pitches. I think that kind of works against me -- once I start getting down in the count, I tend to start expanding on some pitches and end up striking out. I think the more ready I am to hit early in the count, it definitely helps me out."
That aggressiveness carries over once he gets out of the batter's box. Though he has been hitting the ball with extra-base power early and often lately, he's also rounding first base looking to take second. Once he sees the outfielder's approach to the ball, he adjusts accordingly.
That point came from first-base and baserunning coach Tom Brookens. If that sounds familiar, it's because it is a similar message to what then-Tigers coach Andy Van Slyke told Curtis Granderson during his second full season in the big leagues. Granderson ended up with 38 doubles, 23 triples, 23 homers and 26 steals.
"Me and Brooky, we talked about that, especially when I see a ball headed towards the gap," Jackson said. "It's tough to go to your left or to your right to field the ball and still be able to make an accurate throw. If I can be aggressive getting around first base, and he hasn't fielded it yet, then now I have a good chance to maybe get a double out of it."
The results aren't quite the same as that historic Granderson season, but Jackson is a home run shy of double digits in all three categories. His 11 triples are one more than his 2010 total, which leads the American League.
"He does something that we don't have very much of: He can really run, and he's exciting to watch," Leyland said. "When he hits a triple, it gets me pumped up. It's exciting."
Boesch undergoes thumb surgery, ending year
CLEVELAND -- Tigers outfielder Brennan Boesch underwent surgery Tuesday morning to repair the torn ligament in his right thumb. The surgery, which the Tigers had been hoping to have done while they're in town this week, officially ends Boesch's 2011 season.
Dr. Thomas Graham, the renowned hand specialist who has been following Boesch's situation ever since he first injured the thumb during the Tigers' last trip here last month, performed the operation at the Cleveland Clinic.
If this were a situation earlier in the season, where Boesch might be looking to come back, head athletic trainer Kevin Rand said the typical timetable for recovery and return would be 10-12 weeks. With the season nearing a close, he'll be on a much more relaxed timetable, and he will be ready to go when Spring Training begins in February, if not sooner. He'll have his thumb in a splint for the next two weeks before he's reevaluated.
Boesch spent Tuesday evening back at the team hotel after the surgery. He'll be traveling with the Tigers when they return home Wednesday evening. He'll continue to travel with the team through the postseason, Rand said.
Tigers recall Worth to bolster infield depth
CLEVELAND -- The last of the September callups has arrived, with Danny Worth now eligible to return from Triple-A Toledo. The Tigers recalled him on Tuesday, adding the versatile, sure-handed infielder for the playoff chase.
Worth's numbers with the Tigers, including a .300 average (9-for-30), two doubles and three RBIs, look more productive than his season on the whole with the Mud Hens. However, he finished strong in Toledo, batting .415 (17-for-41) with nine RBIs to finish with a .256 average on the year.
Also joining the Tigers from Toledo will be Hens manager Phil Nevin, who will serve as an extra coach, and athletic trainer Matt Rankin.
According to a report from ESPNChicago.com, the Tigers had expressed interest in Cubs director of player personnel Oneri Fleita for their opening in the same position before Chicago signed him to a four-year extension. Assuming the Tigers keep Mike Rojas as bullpen coach in Detroit, they need to hire somebody to fill his old post as player personnel director. They've stayed inside the organization to fill the post in past years, but they could be looking for a new perspective. ... Jacob Turner threw a side session on Tuesday at Progressive Field, and he will continue to do so every few days in order to keep his arm fresh. The Tigers are keeping their top pitching prospect around for a possible spot start later in the season if needed.