DETROIT -- A little more than two months after Andy Dirks went down with what was originally expected to be a day-to-day injury to his right Achilles tendon, the Tigers activated him from the 15-day disabled list on Friday. He returns to an outfield that looks a lot different than when he left.
His return is about to change it again.
After all the questions about how manager Jim Leyland could get Dirks and Quintin Berry into the same lineup, Leyland showed how on Friday. With sidearming right-hander Justin Masterson on the mound for Cleveland, Dirks started in right field, Brennan Boesch moved to designated hitter, and Delmon Young took a spot on the bench.
It was Leyland's way of loading up his lineup with left-handed hitters. It won't be that way against all right-handers, but it's a sign that Leyland is going to play matchups instead of sticking with a regular lineup.
Leyland had already been thinking about moving up Boesch to the fifth spot behind Prince Fielder and moving Young down, something he tried out Wednesday in Boston. With Young no longer guaranteed starts every day, he's sticking with that plan. Boesch batted fifth on Friday, with Dirks right behind him.
It goes against the original plan of alternating lefties and righties where possible, but Leyland believes the benefits of Boesch outweigh the negatives of letting teams bring in a lefty reliever to face Fielder and Boesch back-to-back.
"I don't think it has anything necessarily to do with the fifth or sixth spot," Leyland said. "I'm sticking another lefty behind Prince against right-handed pitching. I've been thinking about that for a while. But it's a little bit more complicated than people think."