The 30-year-old third baseman, who came out of Tuesday night's game with soreness in his troubled lower back, is listed as day-to-day. But if Crede can't return at full strength for any of the club's three games with the American League West-leading Angels, Guillen said he will have to go with "Plan B."
"If he can play Friday, OK. But Monday? Tuesday? That's a week without hitting or fielding," Guillen said. "We've got to go with the best we have. If you have to take a week to recover, sorry, I can't deal with that."
Crede missed the final 109 games of 2007 after he had season-ending back surgery. He maintained his health through the first half of this season, but had to sit out five weeks with lumbar inflammation after the All-Star break. During a rehab assignment before he returned Aug. 25, Crede felt back pain, which was found to be caused by scar tissue from the previous surgery.
"If Joe can go out and perform, he's going to be my third baseman, no doubt," Guillen said. "But they have to understand my role as a manager on the ballclub. We're in the pennant race. I have to keep all those guys ready to go every day, and they're going to have to come ready.
"This is not instructional league. This is not winter league. Every day, we have to win."
Since returning from the DL, Crede has batted .174 with two extra-base hits in seven games. For the season, he is batting .248 with 17 homers and 55 RBIs. Taking over his duties until he's ready will be Juan Uribe, who is batting .241 with five home runs and 29 RBIs in 85 games. Josh Fields, who was called up from Triple-A Charlotte on Tuesday and was in Wednesday's lineup as the designated hitter, could also get some looks.
"Obviously, with Joe in the lineup, our lineup is better," Guillen said. "But I can not come here asking him, 'How do you feel? How do you feel?' I can't deal with that."
Guillen came under fire for bringing the sure-fielding veteran Uribe back for the 2008 season instead of Minor League prospects Fields and Chris Getz. He isn't regretting that decision now.
"We knew Uribe was going to help us," Guillen said. "When we made the decision, it looked like we didn't know what we were doing. ... I believe Uribe can play all three positions better than anybody, and he's doing it right now."