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Will First Base Give Carlos Guillen's Knees a Break?

Will Carroll has begun his Team Health Reports at Baseball Prospectus, and while the write-up on the Detroit Tigers hasn't run yet, he did post some information on what could be one of the most intriguing questions of the 2008 season.

Carlos Guillen has moved over to first base, presumably to protect his increasingly aching knees, but will such a position change actually keep him less sore throughout the season? According to Carroll...

Probably not. According to one MLB team physician, the most strain on bad knees is not caused by running, but by standing. Guillen won't stand any less at first than he might have at short. There's also an increased risk any time a player shifts position. This is often caused by the unfamiliarity they have, crossing up footwork or simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Besides the injury considerations, the position change was also an acknowledgment that Guillen's range at shortstop (choose your defensive metric) was decreasing noticeably. His 16 fielding errors at shortstop were the most in the majors, and his total of 24 was the second-highest number in baseball last season.

I don't think anyone is saying this was a move the Tigers shouldn't have made, especially when they could get a replacement like Edgar Renteria.