05/29/10 1:09 AM ET
Laird changes jersey number
By Jason Beck and Alex DiFilippo / MLB.com
The Tigers opened up their homestand Friday night with Laird donning a new number. He worked out a deal to get number 12 from hitting coach Lloyd McClendon. Laird had been wearing No. 8 ever since he became a Tiger before the 2009 season.
Laird tried to downplay it when asked before the game Friday night against the A's.
"Just changing it up," Laird said. "That's all I'm doing. Maybe my luck will change a little bit."
McClendon had been giving Laird plenty of advice all season. Giving him the number off his back was the next step. It isn't the first time for McClendon, who had number 21 when he started out with the Tigers in 2006 until they traded for Sean Casey.
McClendon will now wear No. 19, previously worn by Jeff Larish. McClendon joked that he now has to remember what number he has so that he doesn't pick up the wrong numbered suitcase on road trips.
Surprisingly, no Tigers player had worn number 12 since Carlos Pena in 2005.
-- Jason Beck
Guillen shines in debut at second
DETROIT -- Carlos Guillen's rehab assignment is over. His Tigers tenure at second base began Friday night.
The Tigers activated their switch-hitting veteran from the 15-day disabled list Friday, paving the way for him to rejoin the starting lineup at second base against the A's. He hadn't played a big league game there since 1999, but he looked pretty comfortable there Friday.
Guillen turned a pair of groundouts, but more impressive, had a hand in a pair of inning-ending double plays, starting one and relaying another. He took Jake Fox's ground ball up the middle and flipped to shortstop Adam Everett to start the twin-killing that ended the bleeding in the opening inning.
After starter Dontrelle Willis left the game in the sixth, Guillen helped ensure neither of his inherited runners scored. Guillen hit the bag to cover for Brandon Inge's throw, then turned across the bag as Oakland speedster Rajai Davis raced in. His throw to the inside part of first base had Miguel Cabrera leaning to hold his foot on the bag, but he got the out.
"I was trying to protect myself with the bag," he said. "I think that's the key for second base, because you never see the runner when he's coming. You have to be as quick as possible."
It was an impressive showing, but to Guillen, it was instinctive.
"I played most of my career at shortstop in the infield," he said. "When you play shortstop, you have to know almost every play. I don't try to do too much. I try to make the routine plays. I think that's the key."
How well he adapts is going to be very important for a team that relies on infield defense to convert ground-ball outs. He's going to get daily chances to prove he can get them.
"He's my everyday second baseman," manager Jim Leyland said Friday afternoon. "I'll watch him, see how it goes."
Guillen went on the 15-day disabled list April 23 with a pulled left hamstring he suffered while rounding third base. Rookie outfielder Brennan Boesch was called up to take his place and has earned himself an everyday role the way he has hit. That left the Tigers looking to find a role for Guillen.
So while Guillen's five-game rehab assignment at Triple-A Toledo was meant to help him find his timing at the plate after a month off, it was also an orientation at second, a position he hasn't played in the Majors since his first couple seasons in Seattle.
Guillen batted sixth in the Tigers' order, where he's expected to hit for the foreseeable future behind Boesch. Guillen looked to have his timing down at the plate all night, turning a 10-pitch at-bat into a second-inning walk before producing a ground-rule double in the seventh inning.
"I feel OK," Guillen said. "It feels good, not bad for being a long time out of the field. But I have to go step by step."
Worth back to Toledo; Guillen activated
DETROIT -- Danny Worth shook hands with several teammates before grabbing his suitcase and exiting the Tigers' clubhouse. After playing in eight games for the Tigers, Worth was on his way back to Triple-A Toledo on Friday afternoon.
Worth kept second base warm while Carlos Guillen rehabbed a left hamstring injury that landed him on the 15-day disabled list. Guillen was activated by the Tigers and started on Friday against the Athletics, pushing Worth back down to Toledo. It will be Guillen's first start since April 23.
Worth played in eight games at second base for the Tigers, going 8-for-24 from the plate with three RBIs. But his real asset was his defensive prowess. Worth made several outstanding plays at second base, tallying 23 assists and contributing on eight double plays without committing an error.
"I know I can play up here," Worth said. "I've played well. I don't know if I can play that well all season. But I'm going to work on being more consistent. It's just feeling my swing every day, so I'll work on that. It's knowing that at least I can blend in sort of up here. It's a good feeling. It gives me a little confidence and makes me a little more comfortable, knowing this is doable up here for a guy like me."
Tigers manager Jim Leyland was very impressed with the way Worth performed in his short stint. The Tigers skipper said he expects to see Worth play more shortstop when he returns to Toledo, as Scott Sizemore will likely carry the load at second base.
"He did tremendous," Leyland said. "He did a very good job and made a very favorable impression. Now he's got to go down and play a little more shortstop maybe and play around. He accounted for himself very well.
"He was a flicker on the radar screen, now all of a sudden he's on the radar screen pretty good."
Worth's time with the Tigers allowed him to make the West Coast road trip to Oakland, Los Angeles and Seattle -- a highlight for the 24-year-old who grew up in Northridge, Calif., and played his college ball at Pepperdine.
"I loved playing in L.A.," Worth said. "It was good being home. I didn't get to go home, but it was good being around there and my family saw me play. They don't get to come out to a lot of Minor League games because they are on the East Coast. They've only seen me a couple times since I've signed." -- Alex DiFilippo
Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Alex DiFilippo is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.