I'm a couple of days late in writing about Carlos Guillen sitting out with back pain that's also developed into numbness down his right leg, along with increasingly sore hamstrings. But with Jeff Larish being called up from Toledo to take his place and Todd Jones very likely calling it a career yesterday, I think the sentiment I originally wanted to express on Tuesday is still timely.
When it comes to the Detroit Tigers these days, three words often come to mind as I see the aches and injuries pile up. Shut him down. (I'm sure you could think of a more colorful three words in reference to the overall season, but that's why we have comments and GameThreads here at BYB.) Obviously, someone has to play these games, and the paying customers deserve to see major league talent on the field. But for those who are aching and nursing injuries that just won't get better without rest, what's the point of pushing this? This thing the Tigers have been doing has taken on the feel of a funeral march. Why add actual career casualties to the proceedings?
Guillen is obviously dealing with something serious here, with symptoms that hinted toward this outcome when he was originally diagnosed with a pinched nerve. He has three more years on his current contract, with skills that could very well be diminishing. (10 home runs this year?) Shutting him down and trying to get him as healthy as possible seems like the best way to try and ensure getting the best from Guillen over these next three seasons. What good would playing a few more games at third base or hitting fifth in the lineup this year really accomplish now?
The Tigers have wasted far too much this season in sending injured or recuperating players onto the field, either not realizing how debilitating their pains were or hoping they could play through their physical issues. Gary Sheffield? Joel Zumaya? Todd Jones? Dontrelle Willis? Maybe even Nate Robertson? They did the right thing with Jeremy Bonderman, but his condition really didn't give the team a choice. And Jonesy acknowledged inevitability, opting to end his season with some dignity rather than delude himself with false hopes.
Next season, I hope the Tigers put feelings or loyalties aside, and act much more aggressively and decisively about putting players on the DL when they're not in any condition to help. What good does it do to have Sheffield or Guillen on the bench if a healthier player is available to help out, especially one who might have a future with the team? Shut him down.