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04/06/09 7:15 PM ET

Guillen OK with occasional start at DH

Leyland aiming to keep Tigers players healthy, fresh

TORONTO -- Carlos Guillen opens each season with one simple goal: He wants to stay healthy. Manager Jim Leyland opened the season wanting to keep his left fielder healthy.

So as Detroit opened the season without Gary Sheffield, Guillen became Exhibit A of how the Tigers are likely to use the designated hitter slot without a full-time DH. And Guillen, a DH here for the second time in a month, is fine with it.

"He's very smart," Guillen said of Leyland, "because he wants to keep us healthy."

Given Guillen's history with knee problems, he'd be expected to have problems on turf with his joints. However, he said his hamstrings are his concern when he plays in Toronto. They've flared up in years past playing on the surface.

They're not bothering him now, and both he and Leyland want to keep it that way.

"I think you have to anticipate," Guillen said.

Guillen will play left field at least one game in the series, but he'll also DH another. He was exclusively a DH in Toronto last month, when Team Venezuela played in the opening round of the World Baseball Classic.

"Carlos tells me it definitely bothers his hamstring," Leyland said. "I don't want to start the season and have guys coming up lame."

Leyland will use that same caution in other spots. Magglio Ordonez will DH for a game, while Placido Polanco and Adam Everett will each get a game off.

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