Once hoped to be back with the club by the end of July, injured Detroit Tigers outfielder Andy Dirks was assessed by the team's training staff on Monday in an effort to determine his readiness for a rehab assignment. And while the timetable for his injured right Achilles is still not entirely certain, the 26-year-old outfielder is eager to get back on the field and pick up where he left off from the plate. Still, Tigers manager Jim Leyland does not expect Dirks to return to the big league squad any time soon according to The Oakland Press' Matthew Mowery:
Leyland on Dirks' progress: "The good news for me is when he’s ready to play for the Detroit #Tigers, which won’t be for quite a while."— Matthew B. Mowery (@matthewbmowery) July 16, 2012
Back to running the bases and reportedly feeling better than ever, Dirks is hoping to kick off his rehab assignment in Toledo later on this week. But because of his lengthy absence from the lineup, Leyland made it fully clear on Monday that he wants his young outfielder to see an abundance of Triple-A pitching before he's willing to give him the call. "He’s been out two months, six weeks plus," Leyland told MLive.com's James Schmehl. "He’s going to have to go out and get at-bats, and it won’t just be three or four days of at-bats. That’s still a process."
Even though those late July and early August estimations now seem a tad generous with his timetable still up in the air, it's good to know that Dirks will return at some point this season, and likely in the heart of the Tigers' playoff push.