CINCINNATI -- Gerald Laird's two-hit game Friday night brought his season hit total to 17 in 59 at-bats. He managed 22 hits over 95 at-bats for all of last season, and 56 over 270 at-bats the last time he was a Tiger in 2010.
When he hit early, it looked like a season-opening hot streak. At this point, though, Tigers officials are comfortable saying that Laird is a better hitter than he used to be.
Is he a .300 hitter? Probably not, though his average stood at .315 entering Saturday's start against the Reds. But he appears to be a better hitter -- or at least a smarter one who knows his limitations.
"He's laying off high fastballs out of the strike zone," manager Jim Leyland said. "He's disciplined himself. He looks good.
"He's aware. He's not trying to hit home runs. He's trying to put a good swing on the ball."
Considering Laird is going to be the regular starter behind the plate for at least the next week while Alex Avila tries to work his way back from a hamstring strain, that's a good thing.