Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Third Base Still a Problem for Tigers

Veteran Carlos Guillen has come back from the disabled list to immediately solidify the second base position which has been a problem all year.  He is batting .280 with four extra base hits in 50 at bats which is a big improvement over Ryan Raburn and everyone else who has played the position this year.  Defensively, he lacks both range and throwing strength, but he's steadier than Raburn.  He plays like he's old, but not like he's injured.  Overall, he's done well enough where the Tigers will probably consider bringing him back next year if he stays healthy. 

It's too early to judge new third baseman Wilson Betemit.  He's batting .250 with a homer and double in 28 trips so far.  Jim Leyland does not seem to trust him enough to use him every day and frequently inserts the light hitting Don Kelly at third.  The problem is Betemit looks very weak defensively which was expected.  I'd like to see Betemit get more of an opportunity, but if Leyland doesn't feel comfortable enough using him regularly, then third base is still a big hole.  Kelly is batting just .194 for July and is no better than average defensively at third.

If you thought Brandon Inge was finished as a Tiger, you may end up being disappointed.  He is 8 for 26 with two doubles and two homers for triple-A Toledo and I think there is a good chance he'll be back in September.  He's not the answer, but I'm not sure anyone else on the roster is either.  The musical chairs at the hot corner may continue through the end of the season.  

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