Fister, Dirks both moving closer to healthy returns
The Tigers’ injury focus this week has been on the catchers and Austin Jackson — and for good reason. Both catchers suffered hamstring injuries this week, and Jackson has been nearing a return for quite a while before starting a rehab assignment Thursday night. However, Doug Fister and Andy Dirks appear to be making progress.
Dirks is traveling with the team on this upcoming trip, and he’s going to be able to hit and do some other activities as he works his way back from his right Achilles strain. The hope is that he can go out on a rehab assignment at some point before he’s eligible to come off the DL.
“When we go on the road, if Dirks gets better, we don’t have to wait the full time to go let him play a little bit,” manager Jim Leyland said after Thursday’s win over the Indians. “He’s feeling better again today.”
Earlier Thursday, head athletic trainer Kevin Rand said Dirks was starting to take regular batting practice and stretching out his throwing arm.
“It’s not totally gone yet,” Rand said of Dirks’ injury. “That’s kind of why he isn’t back to full activity.”
The hint on Fister came from Leyland.
“It appears we’re going to get Fister back very shortly,” he said.
Rand said Fister was throwing on flat-ground, but throwing hard rather than simply playing catch. Essentially, he’s throwing his pitches on flat ground, and he’s doing it without pain from that left side injury that has bothered him for the better part of the season.