07/06/08 5:09 PM ET
Tigers' Guillen an All-Star for third time
Infielder is Detroit's only representative as a reserve
By Jason Beck / MLB.com
Now, he has a familiar job to do: He's an All-Star.
"I'm glad. I'm very excited," Guillen said. "It'll be a good experience."
As expected, the Tigers will have one player representing them at next week's All-Star Game at Yankee Stadium. It'll be Guillen, whose third All-Star trip in his five-year Tigers tenure will reward him for what has been a first half of adjustments in his career in the field but continued steady production at the plate.
"Great choice, well-deserved," manager Jim Leyland said. "Couldn't happen to a better guy."
Guillen became the main moving part in Detroit's retooled infield, moving to first base full-time once the Tigers acquired Edgar Renteria last fall. After little more than a month at first, though, Guillen and Miguel Cabrera were essentially swapped along the infield corners, making Guillen a third baseman for the first time since his days with the Seattle Mariners. He even picked up a couple of starts in left field in late May while manager Jim Leyland tried to find a way to put Guillen and Brandon Inge in the same lineup.
All those shifts have had no effect on Guillen's hitting. He entered play Sunday batting .292 with a team-high 21 doubles to go with eight home runs, 44 RBIs and an .821 OPS. After all of Detroit's offensive additions over the last couple of years, it's Guillen who currently serves as the fulcrum in the Tigers' talented but mercurial lineup by taking over the third spot in the order. Detroit is 24-7 when he drives in at least one run.
Guillen was selected to the roster by American League All-Star manager Terry Francona as Detroit's representative. That means no Tigers were voted onto the 31-man roster, either through fan balloting to select the starting lineup or through the players' ballot to select most of the pitchers and reserves. The results were revealed Sunday afternoon on the MLB All-Star Selection Show presented by Chevy.
Leyland said Friday that he gave Francona a list of five players he thought were deserving of consideration, a list that did not include injured slugger Magglio Ordonez, who will enter the All-Star break on the 15-day disabled list and would not have been available to play.
"I know he's always been a big admirer of Carlos," Leyland said of Francona. "I also think the versatility was a big factor."
Indeed, Guillen joked that he could bring at least four different gloves to the Midsummer Classic -- none of them his own. He still has a shortstop's glove from Miguel Tejada and a first baseman's glove from ex-teammate Sean Casey, but his new roles this year have forced him to borrow a third baseman's glove from Miguel Cabrera and an outfielder's glove from Gary Sheffield.
"I don't like breaking in gloves," Guillen joked. "I don't think I have time."
Given the birth of his daughter, he isn't going to have much time to relax at all over the next week and a half. Wife Amelia is back in Detroit set to give birth to Camelia Jose Guillen sometime in the next couple of days. He'll miss some time for that but will be back soon after.
The All-Star commitment will be a challenge. He hopes to bring his two sons, Alfonso and Isaac, to the festivities with him, but that could be it for his family.
"I would like to bring them, because it's going to be the last All-Star Game at Yankee Stadium," Guillen said. "I don't know about the baby, because she's only going to be about a week old."
The Tigers have had at least one All-Star starter in three of the previous four seasons, mainly thanks to catcher Ivan Rodriguez's run on the club. That changed this year, as Rodriguez was left off the All-Star roster for the first time in his five seasons with the Tigers and just the third time since 2002.
Detroit will, however, have one more representative. Guillen again will be paired with Leyland, who joins Francona's All-Star coaching staff at Francona's invitation.
Guillen's trip to Yankee Stadium will continue the success story he has put together since the Tigers acquired him from Seattle in a trade prior to the 2004 season. He's batting .310 in five seasons with the Tigers with 73 home runs, 351 RBIs and 54 stolen bases.
His Detroit tenure also included trips to the Midsummer Classic in 2004 and 2007, both times as a reserve shortstop. He didn't play in the 2004 game, but went 0-for-2 last year coming off AL All-Star manager Leyland's bench.
The 79th Major League Baseball All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX, in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and Sportsnet HD and televised around the world by Major League Baseball International, with pregame ceremonies beginning at 8 p.m. ET. ESPN Radio will provide exclusive national radio coverage, while MLB.com will provide extensive online coverage. XM will provide satellite radio play-by-play coverage of the XM All-Star Futures Game.
Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.