June 6th, 2012
The end of Austin Jackson’s absence finally seems to be in sight. Now that the Tigers have sent out their center fielder to Triple-A Toledo for a rehab assignment, his return could be within the next couple days.
Jackson took batting practice for the second straight day, taking about 4-5 rounds of swings, and felt fine, as he did during running drills earlier. He feels better now than he did when he tried and failed to come back two weeks ago in Cleveland, and he has been running at full speed for the last few days.
“I feel pretty good,” Jackson said Wednesday afternoon, “so I think the next step is getting a timetable when I can get some at-bats.”
That timetable was soon set. Jackson will join the Mud Hens on Thursday for what will most likely be a brief stay. Manager Jim Leyland said after Wednesday’s game that Jackson is expected to get three at-bats for the Hens on Thursday, then play a full game Friday before they figure out how to proceed from there.
Could he come back after that? Consider that when the Tigers designated catcher Omir Santos for assignment Wednesday, they filled his roster spot with reliever Jose Ortega, not another position player.
“We really didn’t have an extra player to bring,” Leyland said, “so we’re going to just carry an extra pitcher for a couple days, and just see how things play out. I can’t really forecast how soon down the road or what, but the injury situation — other than the catching situation — is actually pretty good.”
Leyland also reiterated that he wants to get his positional roster back to 13 players for Interleague Play, when the Tigers lose the designated hitter.
To quote Jim Leyland from today on Gerald Laird, “I’m proud of the fact that he wants to play, and I appreciate it. But common sense has to come into it. I think I would look like a fool to put him out there to start this game [the way he was running last night].”
Thus, Bryan Holaday’s first day in the big leagues will also be his first Major League start.
- Quintin Berry, CF
- Ramon Santiago, 2B
- Miguel Cabrera, 3B
- Prince Fielder, 1B
- Delmon Young, DH
- Brennan Boesch, RF
- Jhonny Peralta, SS
- Don Kelly, LF
- Bryan Holaday, C
P: Max Scherzer
- Shin-Soo Choo, RF
- Asdrubal Cabrera, SS
- Jason Kipnis, 2B
- Carlos Santana, C
- Michael Brantley, CF
- Johnny Damon, LF
- Casey Kotchman, 1B
- Matt LaPorta, DH
- Lonnie Chisenhall, 3B
P: Jeanmar Gomez
As you’ve probably heard by now, the Alex Avila move to the 15-day disabled list is official. It doesn’t sound like a long-term injury, just a hamstring strain, but it’s bad enough that they can’t wait it out.
Holaday essentially replaces Omir Santos, who has been designated for assignment. The explanation from Jim Leyland was that while they like Santos as an insurance backup catcher, they prefer Holaday is there’s a situation where they need a catcher who will play regularly. And with Gerald Laird available only in emergencies for the next few days, Holaday is going to play.
Look for Santos to clear waivers in the coming days and likely return to Triple-A Toledo, barring something unexpected.
The other roster opening will be filled by Jose Ortega, giving the Tigers an extra reliever for the time being. The hope appears to be that Austin Jackson will return from the disabled list in the coming days and take that spot. Until then, basically, they didn’t have anybody they particularly felt like they needed positionally, kind of like when they called up Santos last week.
“We really didn’t have a position player to bring,” Leyland said.
Jackson, meanwhile, could be headed out on rehab shortly. He said that’s probably the next step after he took 3-4 rounds of batting practice the last couple days, along with fly balls, and didn’t feel any discomfort.