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A sometimes-irreverent look at Detroit's Boys of Summer, the Tigers, as they try to return to the top of the American League Central.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Dirks finally heads out for rehab assignment

Andy Dirks’ interminable wait to be a ballplayer again is finally over. 

On the disabled list since May 31 with a strained Achilles tendon, the outfielder finally got clearance to head out for a rehabilitation assignment on Sunday, joining the Triple-A Mud Hens in Toledo. He started in center field in Sunday night’s game, and collected an RBI single in his first at-bat.

“Right now, it’s good. I wouldn’t be going somewhere if I didn’t think I could play. It’s finally getting better, so you know it’s a positive right now. But I still have to see how it feels after I start playing games because it’s tough to simulate it. Playing a baseball game is one of the toughest things to simulate, I think, but we’ll see,” said Dirks, who will probably get three at-bats per game for a few nights, then be the designated hitter for another. 

“I’m ready to start playing. It’s been too long.”

Manager Jim Leyland isn’t expecting him back soon, though. Though Dirks happily packed up for a road trip, it’ll probably be with the Mud Hens, who head out on the road at the same time as the parent club. 

“His will be a little bit longer time than most rehabs, so they’ve got plenty of time to fool with that,” Leyland said of the rehab plan.

After playing in the Dominican League in the offseason, Dirks started both spring training and the regular season red-hot, hitting .328 with 15 extra-base hits, 24 runs and 16 RBI through the team's first 37 games. 

But in reality, he's been hurt off-and-on for most of the season. He initially tweaked his hamstring on April 18, then — by overcompensating for the first nick — hurt the Achilles tendon on May 1. It took the Tigers waiting most of the month before shutting him down. 


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