Notes: Guillen fine after injury scare
Shortstop listed as day to day after fouling ball off right leg
LAKELAND, Fla. -- As much as Carlos Guillen means to the Tigers, and as many injuries as he has battled over the years, every injury he suffers is a scare. Saturday's injury, however, looks like nothing more than a bruise.
Guillen left Detroit's split-squad game against the Braves in the third inning when he fouled a Tim Hudson pitch off of his right shin, the same spot where he fouled off another Hudson pitch last Sunday at Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex. The ball hit him midway up his lower leg.
"He was tough today," Guillen said of Hudson.
Guillen backed out of the batter's box and knelt to the ground. After being examined by head athletic trainer Kevin Rand, Guillen limped off the field under his own power. He's listed as day to day with a right shin contusion, and he sounded afterwards like he didn't expect to miss more than a day or two.
Guillen has battled injuries throughout much of his career, but most of his problems have involved his knees. He has remained healthy this spring, batting .209 (9-for-43) in 17 games with three doubles, a home run and a team-high tying 10 RBIs.
When he's healthy, Guillen is arguably one of the two best hitters in the Tigers lineup. The 31-year-old batted .320 in 2006, with career bests of 100 runs scored and 20 stolen bases to go with 19 home runs and 85 RBIs after dealing with knee problems during most of the previous season. His 153 games played marked the first time in his career in which he played in more than 140 games in a season.
Minor Leaguer Mark Haske replaced him in the lineup on Saturday, the second substitution the Tigers had to make in the game. Catcher Vance Wilson, in the starting lineup with Ivan Rodriguez playing in the Tigers' road game, left earlier after experiencing inflammation in his right elbow.
Wilson characterized the move as a precaution. He, too, is considered day to day.
"The last couple days, it felt great," Wilson said. "It just didn't feel good today. If it goes over the edge to where it flares up, then it's really sore. It was more like I felt it coming on."
Verlander to get Minors start: Justin Verlander was originally expected to face the Yankees on Sunday in a game that will be televised back to Detroit. Instead, he'll face Tigers Minor Leaguers in an intrasquad game at the Tigertown complex.
It would've been the second of three games for Verlander against the Yankees this spring. He faced them May 5 at Legends Field, and his final scheduled start of the spring is Friday, when the Yankees are back at Joker Marchant Stadium for an ESPN-televised contest.
"It's just one of those things in Spring Training where out of my six starts, three [would be] against the Yankees," Verlander said. "They kind of want to mix it up a little bit, I guess."
The side effect, too, is a change of pace for Verlander, who has been looking for a rhythm in his starts after not throwing until the tail end of the offseason. Even he admitted a spot start in a lower-pressure setting might be a better place to do it.
"It probably would be more beneficial to throw down there," Verlander said, "because if you throw against the Yankees, no matter what you tell yourself, you're going to get all amped up. And I'm going to do what's kind of gotten me in trouble a little bit, which is to try and overthrow. Really, that's what's been getting my mechanics out of sync."
Verlander's focus will have nothing to do with the opponent. If he feels comfortable with his pitches, he said, it won't matter if he gives up runs.
The task of facing the Yankees will fall to Jason Grilli, who was scheduled to pitch Sunday anyway. While Verlander avoids another meeting with the Bronx Bombers, Grilli will continue his remarkable spring of avoiding pitching on the road. Though purely coincidental, six of his seven outings this spring have been in Lakeland, the one exception being a March 13 outing against the Dodgers at Vero Beach.
"I've been down enough gravel roads to have a smooth one every now and then," Grilli joked.
Coming up: The Tigers are back on television Sunday with a 1:05 p.m. ET game against the Yankees at Joker Marchant Stadium. Grilli will step into a starting role opposite Jeff Karstens. FSN Detroit will have the broadcast beginning at 1 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.