TORONTO -- Matt Tuiasosopo, whose right-handed power bat appeared poised to earn him more regular playing time before an intercostal strain landed him on the disabled list, appears poised to return as soon as he's eligible on Sunday.
Tuiasosopo is expected to begin a rehab assignment with Triple-A Toledo on Wednesday, manager Jim Leyland announced. Tuiasosopo took full batting practice with the Tigers on Monday and Tuesday without any restrictions.
The Mud Hens are home through early next week. The Tigers will be down the road in Cleveland this weekend for a four-game series that concludes Monday night.
Tuiasosopo was batting .338 (24-for-71) with seven doubles, three home runs and 17 RBIs when he strained a rib-cage muscle on a batting practice swing, and appeared poised to grab some starts against right-handed pitching from slumping Andy Dirks.
Whether he can still do that remains to be seen, but his return likely means Avisail Garcia will head to Toledo. Garcia, recalled from the Mud Hens when Tuiasosopo went on the DL, has lost playing time amidst a 1-for-21, 10-strikeout slump that has dropped his average to .241. Leyland said Garcia's swing has seemingly gotten longer in recent games.
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.