Carlos Guillen “more and more likely” to be ready for Opening Day

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As you may recall, Carlos Guillen underwent microfracture surgery on his left knee last September due to an injury suffered on a takeout slide by Brett Gardner last August. There isn’t much of a track record as far as microfracture success stories in MLB, but it sounds as though Guillen is making good progress thus far.

In December, Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski told Tony Paul of the Detroit News that Guillen’s doctor was “very pleased” with his recovery and felt that he was ahead of schedule.

“Right now, the projections are that he would play — this is what the doctor said — in the middle part of spring training,” Dombrowski said. “But I think from our aspect of it, you have to say it’s unknown at this time. I don’t think you can say you’re counting on him to be ready for the beginning of the season.”

That was just about a month ago. Today, Jason Beck of MLB.com writes that Guillen looks “more and more likely to be ready for Opening Day,” though he acknowledges that he will likely be slowed during spring training.

Of course, we can’t just go out and assume that Guillen will be ready for the start of the season. Though the early reports are encouraging, we’re talking about someone who turned 35 years old last September and has struggled to stay healthy over each of the last three seasons. Then there’s also the matter of whether he will be able to handle playing second base. If he isn’t, Will Rhymes, Scott Sizemore and Danny Worth will likely compete for at-bats during spring training.

Guillen batted .273/.327/.419 with six home runs and 34 RBI over 253 at-bats last season. He is owed $13 million in 2011 in the final year of a four-year, $48 million contract.

Report: Blue Jays and Royals making progress on a Francisco Liriano trade

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Jon Morosi reports that the Blue Jays and Royals are making progress on a trade involving starter Francisco Liriano. Morosi notes that other teams are still involved with the Jays on Liriano as well.

Liriano, 33, has struggled mightily this season. He carries a 5.99 ERA with a 70/42 K/BB ratio over 76 2/3 innings. By most metrics, this is one of the worst seasons of the lefty’s career.

The Royals acquired a trio of pitchers earlier this week from the Padres: Brandon Maurer, Ryan Buchter, and Trevor Cahill. Adding Liriano would bolster the team’s rotation depth but might not do much beyond that.

Despite a sluggish start to the season, the Royals went 17-9 in June and are 14-8 in July to put themselves right back in the thick of things in the AL Central. They’re just one and a half games behind the first-place Indians, which explains their aggressiveness leading up to Monday’s non-waiver trade deadline.

The Marlins are open to trading starter Dan Straily

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Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reports that the Miami Marlins are “now open to trading” starter Dan Straily.

Straily is controllable through 2020 and is a solid mid-to-back rotation starter, so you’d think the Marlins would want to hang on to him, but given that all of the starting pitching available right now comes with a high price tag, the Marlins could probably get a lot in return if they were to deal him.

Straily has a 3.84 ERA and a 107/33 K/BB ratio in 117 1/3 innings this season.