Jackson heading to Toledo on rehab assignment (updated)
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.