DETROIT -- Andy Dirks is finally out of his walking boot and although he's not yet ready to go full speed, the outfielder has been cleared to begin "light" baseball-related activities, head athletic trainer Kevin Rand said Saturday.
"The next step for him is he's starting to do weight-bearing activities, where he's able to initiate some baseball activities," Rand said. "Hitting off a tee, hitting soft toss, playing catch [and] we're doing the beginning of his running-type progression.
"He was able to do about 90 percent of what he needed to do when he went into [the walking boot] coming out of Chicago in the middle of June. So we're trying to pick up that last 10 percent."
Dirks, who has been sidelined since May 31 with Achilles tendinitis in his right foot, will receive one more treatment in Detroit on Sunday and then be sent down to Lakeland, Fla.
"He receives one more treatment here [Sunday] and then he's going to go down to [Class A] Lakeland, and he's going to work on the rehab down in Lakeland until he's ready to go out on a rehab assignment," Rand said.
There's still no timetable for Dirks' return and Tigers manager Jim Leyland reiterated that Dirks isn't close.
"He still has to go through a bunch of baseball stuff before he's ready to come up here," Leyland said. "That's a ways off."
Reliever and strikeout-specialist Al Alburquerque, however, is close. The 26-year-old is waiting to be cleared by team doctors to begin throwing live batting practice, Rand said. Once that's cleared, a rehab assignment isn't far off.
"What they generally do is they throw live BP two or three times and then the next step is obviously throw to hitters in a game situation," Rand said.