LAKELAND, Fla. -- Brennan Boesch said that he felt Opening Day-type nerves before he stepped to the plate against Western Michigan on Tuesday. The key for the Tigers in this Minor League exhibition was that Boesch didn't feel anything in the oblique muscle that he strained two and a half weeks ago.
Boesch felt fine, going 2-for-3 with a home run and a walk in four plate appearances as the designated hitter.
"It felt great," Boesch said. "I felt excited. I was even nervous before, you know, just getting back out there. It feels great to play a sport I love again. It's been a while. ... I've been patient in my return, and I'm glad it has paid off."
The Tigers maneuvered the lineup so that Boesch could bat in each of the first four innings on a day when the rest of the big league camp was off. He grounded out to first base in the opening inning against sophomore right-hander Casey Hall before sending a ground ball through the right side for a single in the second.
Boesch worked a nine-pitch walk in the third inning, fouling off three consecutive full-count pitches from senior right-hander Nick Bradley. He tested his oblique trying to steal second base but was retired on a ground-ball forceout.
"I had a chance to do everything except, obviously, field," he said. "I'm very pleased with how my body responded, which was the most important thing."
Boesch's home run came on a 1-1 pitch from sophomore righty Adam Jones and went over the corner of the indoor batting-cage building in right field, just to the right of the scoreboard.
"It didn't help the Tigers beat the White Sox or anything. Those feel a lot better," Boesch said. "It's just [that] I've been working hard to get back, so it just feels good to be able to get through a couple of at-bats and run around."
The Tigers return to action on Wednesday against the Blue Jays at Joker Marchant Stadium at 1:05 p.m. ET. If Boesch gets the start, either at DH or in the outfield, he'll get to face his roommate from the University of California, starter Brandon Morrow.
"As far as I know, I'll hopefully be in there tomorrow unless I wake up and something's completely messed up," Boesch said. "I don't expect there to be any lingering problems."
Both Boesch and Morrow have been through their share of injuries and trade rumors in their careers, and they've turned to each other for advice. Boesch joked he might send one more request.
"I'm going to text him and say, 'Just please lay it in there for me, please,'" he said.