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Aching Tigers, Hidden Ailments

When traveling to other countries, it's often a good idea to get your proper shots and vaccinations. (At least that's what a lot of people have been telling me lately.) Apparently, a couple of Detroit Tigers forgot to take some injury vaccines before crossing the Canadian border to play in Toronto. As you likely already know, both Placido Polanco and Gary Sheffield sat out of yesterday's game to nurse their respective injuries, and there looks to be a good chance that both players could miss more time down the line.

The Tigers actually cut Polanco's stay in Toronto short and sent him back to Detroit to get his injured back examined. Between his diminished batting average (currently a team-low .148/.292/.167) and limited range at second base so far this season, there had been much speculation about Polanco's health. Whether it's because the back is making it too difficult for Polanco to play (he's missed four games to this point) or the Tigers think his limitations might be affecting them too much on the field, everyone involved wants to find out what's going on. A trip to the disabled list might be next for Polanco.

Sheffield wasn't sent back to Detroit ahead of the team, but his sore left shoulder will be checked out by doctors on Tuesday. He'd been feeling limited mobility in the shoulder all season, though he seemed to be regaining some range of motion as scar tissue from his off-season surgery broke loose. It's still not moving enough for Sheffield's liking, however, and he wants some medical answers.

"It was major surgery, and I have to get it to a point where I'm comfortable. Obviously I'm not.

"I want to get it looked at," Sheffield said. "I want to know what's really going on, like exactly how much scar tissue I really need to break up because it feels strange playing baseball when you can't do what you're capable of doing.

"It doesn't hurt as much as it did, but it still doesn't give me the range of motion that I need. When I try to swing harder, it slows it down even more. I didn't know it was going to be this tight."

Though Sheffield had a rough start to last season, as well, he's clearly struggling with his swing, batting .192/.364/.308 with one home run and two RBIs. The disabled list is very likely a part of his immediate future.

Curtis Granderson will probably take one of the roster spots opened up by Polanco and/or Sheffield moving to the DL, but it doesn't look like Dontrelle Willis will be making the same jump. (He shouldn't be jumping anyway, with that hyper-extended knee.) He's eligible to rejoin the team on Sunday, but the Tigers plan to keep him on the DL until the knee is fully recovered for pitching and fielding (and maybe until Willis has worked out whatever other issues - mechanical or otherwise - that have been plaguing him recently).

The Detroit Tigers Weblog has some ideas about how the roster could be shuffled if Polanco and Sheffield go on the DL. I'm definitely in favor of giving Jeff Larish a chance, given how he's started off the season in Toledo (.273/329/.576, five home runs, 13 RBIs), rather than bringing some of the bigger names that are currently hanging out on the waiver wire. Some left-handed power in the lineup would be a nice touch. But that's just my thought. Do you guys have any suggestions for how the Tigers might boost a hurting lineup right now?