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08/31/09 6:57 PM ET

Tigers getting big boost from Guillen

Detroit (69-61) vs. Cleveland (58-72), 7:05 p.m. ET

DETROIT -- Carlos Guillen ranks among the longest-tenured Tigers on the team. Technically, he arrived in Detroit before Ivan Rodriguez did after the 2003 season. Yet of all the trades and moves the Tigers have done this summer to try to maintain their playoff hopes, Guillen has been their biggest addition.

He didn't go anywhere, except for a brief stay in Lakeland, Fla. It's that he came back.

Given how much his right shoulder was bothering him early in the year, his return was never an assumption. Now, at least from the left side, he's showing glimpses of the Guillen of old, rather than simply an old Guillen.

"I feel comfortable," Guillen said. "I have to try to stay consistent. I can't give too many at-bats away. Sometimes it happens when you try to do too much."

He has talked often about the risk of players and teammates putting too much pressure on themselves to do too much. He believes that's one reason why the Tigers struggled so much offensively during the 2 1/2 months he was out. Now that he's back, he seems to be doing as much as anybody.

With his two-homer, four-hit game Monday against the Rays, Guillen is batting .287 with a .530 slugging percentage, eight homers and 23 RBIs in 33 games since he came back from the DL. As the Tigers prepare to meet the rebuilding young Indians and fellow Venezuelan Carlos Carrasco, Guillen is a major cog in their offense, whether he's batting in front of Miguel Cabrera or behind him.

Guillen rejoined the Tigers in late July under the conditions that he couldn't yet play the field and he couldn't switch-hit. Now that he has played left field for the last two weeks, he has given the Tigers more flexibility to use hitters such as trade acquisition Aubrey Huff.

Yet while Huff's August slump has dropped his batting average 10 points in the past two weeks and prompted manager Jim Leyland to rest him for the next day or two, Guillen's average is now on the cusp of the .250 mark at .249, despite batting .200 in April and early May.

What pleased Guillen so much about his performance Monday, besides the four-hit game, was the nature of his two homers. He took a James Shields fastball to the opposite field in the first inning, depositing it into the corner in left for a two-run homer, before jumping another Shields fastball and pulling it to right.

"I like the two balls I hit over the fence," Guillen said. "The first one, I had to stay with the pitch, a fastball away. That's the way you're supposed to hit."

Until early August, it was a way he hadn't been hitting since the first half of the 2007 season. Though he hasn't shown much extra-base power yet besides home runs, the ability to hit to both sides of the field with authority is a big step for him and a sign of his health.

He isn't ruling out the possibility that he could switch-hit again before the season is over.

"I don't know," Guillen said. "I was trying last week and I was still feeling it. I want to feel 100 percent."

Pitching matchup
DET: RHP Edwin Jackson (10-6, 2.96 ERA)
Before Jackson gets a matchup with his old employers, the Tampa Bay Rays, he'll have another meeting with a Cleveland offense he has handled well this year, giving him a chance at a late-season rebound heading into September. Though he battled blistering temperatures last Wednesday afternoon at Angel Stadium to hit the high 90s on his fastball, it was his secondary stuff that gave reason for encouragement, particularly a nasty biting slider. He took the loss nonetheless with four runs allowed over 6 1/3 innings, including a two-run homer to Torii Hunter.

CLE: RHP Carlos Carrasco (Major League debut)
The right-hander will make his Major League debut for the Indians against the Tigers. Cleveland got Carrasco in the Cliff Lee trade with the Phillies earlier this summer, and now it will get its first look at him. He'll come up from Triple-A Columbus, and the Indians won't have to make a corresponding move since on Sept. 1, teams can expand their rosters to 40.

The Tigers will welcome reinforcements from Triple-A Toledo on Tuesday, when rosters expand. Right-handers Jeremy Bonderman, Eddie Bonine and Casey Fien will be activated from the DL and called up from Toledo, respectively, to join the Tigers bullpen. Catcher Dusty Ryan, outfielder Wilkin Ramirez and infielder Brent Dlugach will make the trip up, too, and add depth to the Tigers bench. ... Curtis Granderson said he misplayed a line drive to center that seemingly knuckled on him in part because he couldn't track the ball well. He said it looked off the bat like it was going to fall in for a single to left-center, so he was trying to cut it off before it swerved back toward straightaway center. "I've never seen that happen before," Granderson said. "I don't know what happened."

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Up next
• Wednesday: Tigers (Rick Porcello, 11-8, 4.27) vs. Indians (Aaron Laffey, 7-3, 3.40), 7:05 p.m. ET
• Thursday: Tigers (Nate Robertson, 1-1, 6.84) vs. Indians (Fausto Carmona, 3-9, 6.20), 1:05 p.m. ET
• Friday: Tigers (Justin Verlander, 15-7, 3.38) at Rays (Jeff Niemann, 12-5, 3.80), 7:38 p.m. ET

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