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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.

Monday, August 12, 2013

After 33 missed games, Tigers can finally bring Infante back from rehab assignment

It took a while for Omar Infante to settle in, after joining the Tigers after last year’s trade deadline.

It could take a while for him to settle back in with the Tigers, after missing 33 games with an ankle injury, but at least he’s back.

The Tigers activated Infante from his injury rehabilitation assignment Monday, bringing him back from Triple-A Toledo before the series opener in Chicago. Hernan Perez was optioned to Toledo to make room on the active roster.

Infante’s rehabilitation went in fits and starts, as he had to shut it down once, after experiencing pain at Class A West Michigan when he tried to explode while running. On July 26, he said it might be as much as two more weeks.

“He felt like it wasn’t quite ready to go full speed yet,” head trainer Kevin Rand said at the time. “So we brought him back (to Detroit), obviously reevaluate him. We’ve gotta get that other part back. We’ve gotta be able to get him to run full speed.”

Infante was injured on July 3, when Rasmus overslid the bag at second base, and barreled into the Tigers’ second baseman. The Tigers were none too happy.

Nor was Infante.

“That slide, I don’t think he needs to slide into me like that,” Infante said at the time.

“It was very dirty. I didn’t like that at all,” teammate Max Scherzer said at the time. “That’s not a clean play and we didn’t like that.”

“I’ve been around the game, trust me, I’ve broken up a lot of double plays, you’re not going to do it that way,” Torii Hunter said. “He knows he messed up. Look in the mirror.”

Rasmus maintained that it was never his intent to hurt anyone.

The Tigers have missed Infante’s bat in the lineup.

He was fourth among qualified second basemen in MLB in batting average (.307), fifth in slugging percentage (.441) and sixth in OPS (.779) at the time of his injury. He was also a large part of the reason the Tigers had gotten some of the best production in MLB from the No. 9 spot in the order.

Perez hit .214 in 16 games played while Infante was out, driving in five runs, but striking out 13 times in 56 at-bats. Ramon Santiago played in all but six games since Infante’s injury, hitting .257 to raise his season average from .148 to .211.

Infante may not improve that right off the bat, since he was hitting just .211 in his five-game rehab stint at Toledo.


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