ANAHEIM -- Avisail Garcia, who began the season on the disabled list with a bruised right heel, returned to game action Saturday morning with five at-bats as the designated hitter in an extended spring game in Florida.
Garcia stole a base in the game, according to head athletic trainer Kevin Rand, so he felt comfortable running.
The Tigers' plan calls for Garcia to start in the outfield in extended spring games on Monday and Tuesday before the medical staff re-evaluates him. Assuming Garcia has no setbacks, it would not be a surprise for him to begin a Minor League rehab assignment next week, either staying in warm weather Florida with Class A Lakeland or heading north.
Garcia was a contender for a roster spot in Spring Training before the heel injury, though the Tigers seemed unlikely to carry him on the big league roster unless he would be getting regular at-bats. Though left fielder Andy Dirks has gotten off to a slow start, a healthy Garcia won't change the Tigers' outlook right away.
Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.