Jackson inching toward return to Tigers

Jackson inching toward return to Tigers

DETROIT -- There hasn't been much good news to report on the injury front of late, but Tigers head athletic trainer Kevin Rand had some to offer about center fielder Austin Jackson before Saturday's game against the Yankees.

Jackson, who has been sidelined with an abdominal strain since May 17, has increased his workload and begun taking part in baseball-related activities again.

Rand said that Jackson hit soft toss and off a tee on Saturday and continued working on the other aspects of his game during batting practice.

"He's going to do everything out there, as far as his running's concerned, as far as his defensive work is concerned," Rand said. "He's going to play catch. He's going to do all of those things today. The only thing he won't do is take batting practice because he's already done [work] in the cage and tee work today. If he comes through that tomorrow, that's our next step."

There was still no timetable on when Jackson could return, but he is certainly progressing. Quintin Berry has performed well in Jackson's absence, but with Andy Dirks also hurting, the Tigers could desperately use the 25-year-old Jackson's bat back in their lineup.

Jackson was batting .331 with five home runs and 17 RBIs out of the leadoff spot. Detroit entered Saturday with a 6-9 record in the 15 games Jackson has missed.