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Guillen, Alburquerque to join Tigers on Saturday

DETROIT -- Two highly anticipated returns will be made on the same day for the Tigers.

Tigers president/general manager Dave Dombrowski announced following Friday night's 8-2 loss to the White Sox that infielder Carlos Guillen and pitcher Al Alburquerque would be reinstated from the disabled list and join the Tigers roster on Saturday.

Guillen has been on the 60-day DL since March 30 after microfracture surgery on his left knee last September. While on a rehab assignment, Guillen hit .316 (12-for-38) in 11 games with the Mud Hens and reports were that he felt great.

"I haven't seen him play, but from what I've heard, our reports on him have been very solid," Dombrowski said. "He's been swinging the bat well. I talked to him Wednesday morning. He said he wanted a couple extra days, he felt he was getting there, swinging the bat well. He felt good at the plate, felt comfortable.

"He's caught the ball at second base very solid hands-wise and I think he'll be ready to come back and play."

Alburquerque had been placed on the 15-day DL with right forearm flexor mass inflammation on June 30. Alburquerque has been lights-out this season, allowing 15 hits and striking out 47 batters in 29 innings.

To make room for the pair, the Tigers optioned infielder Danny Worth and pitcher Ryan Perry to Triple-A Toledo.

Tigers manager Jim Leyland said Guillen would start at second base and likely bat seventh on Saturday.

"Obviously, Carlos is a very good veteran player that's feeling good right now," Leyland said. "It'll be good to see him and good to write his name in the lineup. Hopefully, we're going to get some production. I think the guys will be glad to see him, a veteran player, join us."

One player excited to see Guillen was Miguel Cabrera, whose face lit up when he was informed by reporters that Guillen would be coming back.

"That's big news for us," Cabrera said. "I'm excited to see my friend Carlos come in tomorrow. ... Everyone in the lineup, Carlos back, [Magglio Ordonez is] hitting right now, hopefully, we can start getting together and finally make a good run."

The Toledo Blade reported that Guillen was hit on the left knee by a throw on Friday, but he stayed in the game and appeared OK before being ejected for arguing a call.

Guillen hasn't played a Major League game since August of last season, but Dombrowski and Leyland both expect Guillen to contribute.

"We think he can still swing the bat," Dombrowski said. "Our reports are that he's swinging the bat very well down there. It took a while, after being out for a year, to really get to that point, but over his past five, six games, he's really started to swing the bat better."

Dombrowski said the only player with whom he had dealt that had a similar situation was Clete Thomas, who underwent the same surgery last June and returned for Spring Training.

"I've never really been through this surgery with an infielder. ... There's been some ups and downs, as they said there would be, so I really didn't know," Dombrowski said. "I'm glad to see it's worked out."

Avila to get more rest in second half

DETROIT -- Catchers spend most of their time crouched on the ground. Tigers manager Jim Leyland wants to make sure he doesn't run Alex Avila even farther into the ground as the second half of the season gets under way.

Leyland, a former catcher himself, is taking a very cautious approach with his 24-year-old All-Star catcher and plans to make sure Avila gets plenty of rest in the second half.

"If we're not careful, we'll play him into the ground, trust me," Leyland said. "He was getting tired toward the end of the first half. I know he won't admit that and that he doesn't think he is, and that's a great thing ... but if I don't watch him, I'll play him into the ground if I'm not careful."

The Tigers ended the first half playing 37 games in 38 days. During that stretch, Avila saw his batting average rise from .281 to .305 on June 19, but fall back down to .286 by the All-Star break -- including a 3-for-24 stretch in July.

Leyland said he felt Avila was getting tired toward the end of the stretch, but didn't think the catcher would admit it.

For his part, Avila trusts his manager to make the right decision on when he will and won't play.

"Obviously, after games, you feel physically tired, but that's why you work hard in the offseason -- because you know you're going to go through that," Avila said. "I've prepared myself to do that. He's the manager, he knows best, he's been through it before, and he knows I'll be ready to play every day."

Jackson sits out with sore left wrist

DETROIT -- Austin Jackson was listed on the Tigers' initial lineup card on Friday, but less than an hour before the game, it was announced Jackson was scratched with left wrist soreness.

Jackson has been dealing with soreness in the wrist for more than a week. After coming out of a game against the Royals on July 7, Tigers manager Jim Leyland said Jackson would only be a defensive replacement for the rest of the series, which he did on July 8 and last Sunday.

On Friday, Jackson said he did feel some discomfort in the wrist, but that it felt a lot better and that he let Leyland know he was good to go. He took swings in a workout on Thursday, the first time he had done strenuous swinging activity since July 6 in Anaheim.

He felt tentative at first, but was able to give it a full go toward the end and said he didn't feel bad afterward.

"You don't want to just jump back in there, start swinging and mess it up again," Jackson said before Friday's game. "I just wanted to kind of take it easy. I was able to, toward the end of batting practice, let it go a little bit and it didn't feel bad."

But clearly there was enough wrong to take Jackson out of the lineup.

Andy Dirks replaced Jackson as leadoff hitter and center fielder. He went 1-for-3 with a walk in the 8-2 loss to Chicago.

Kelly gets nod over Inge at third

DETROIT -- A tough season for Brandon Inge hasn't been getting any easier.

He hit .184 up to the All-Star break and patience has been running thin for the veteran to turn things around. Despite having the All-Star break off, Inge was on the bench to start Friday's game against the White Sox, with Don Kelly getting the start at third base.

Since coming back from the disabled list, Inge is hitting .087 (4-for-46). Tigers manager Jim Leyland hasn't given up on Inge to turn things around, but with the team in a race for a division crown, time is running low.

Kelly filled in for Inge when he was on the DL, and it is unclear if Kelly will be the solution for the rest of this season, but if Inge doesn't figure things out, Leyland won't have any other choice than to keep Inge out.

"Nobody's discarding Brandon Inge," Leyland said. "I hope that Brandon Inge is a huge factor the rest of the way out. Nobody's discarding him. But he's struggling right now and I thought this was my best lineup tonight and that's what I'm putting in there."

In the Tigers' 8-2 loss on Friday, Kelly went 0-for-3. Inge pinch-hit for Kelly in the ninth and flew out deep to right with two men on for the second out.

Chris Vannini is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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