CLEVELAND -- Matt Tuiasosopo appeared to be on the verge of more regular playing time two weeks ago when a twinge around his rib cage on a batting practice swing turned into an intercostal strain and a stint on the 15-day disabled list. Now that he's back, time will tell if he can get back to that point.
The Tigers recalled Tuiasosopo from his rehab assignment at Triple-A Toledo and activated him from the DL on Friday, the first day he was eligible to return. To make room, Detroit optioned Avisail Garcia back to Toledo.
Tuiasosopo went 2-for-5 with a double and two walks in his two-day rehab assignment with the Mud Hens. He had the option of spending the weekend with the Hens if he felt like he needed the at-bats, but he felt he was ready.
Tuiasosopo was batting .338 (24-for-71) with seven doubles, three home runs and 17 RBIs when he went on the DL, including 7-for-17 with five doubles, a home run and five RBIs in June.
For the 22-year-old Garcia, the move means more regular playing time to learn and develop in the Mud Hens outfield. Though Garcia became close to a regular in center field by the end of Austin Jackson's DL stint last month, he never found that same momentum when he returned to fill in for Tuiasosopo, going 1-for-15 with seven strikeouts over the last couple weeks.
"You're seeing what happens when you've got young players sitting around," manager Jim Leyland said on Wednesday. "They get rusty. His swing's lengthened out a little bit and he's chasing bad pitches. So the best tonic for him is to get down there, get back in the lineup every day.
"The best case for us is that we didn't need him until September, because he would have a lot of at-bats by then and should be pretty sharp."