DETROIT -- Two days after manager Jim Leyland said Andy Dirks would be in the lineup if he was hitting better, Dirks was back in the Tigers' lineup. He hadn't had an at-bat to show anything in between, but he faced live pitching on Monday's off-day.
Though Monday was an optional workout for most Tigers players, Leyland asked his reserves to come in to get at-bats and stay fresh. He set up live hitting against reliever Luke Putkonen, who was left off the American League Championship Series roster but has remained with the team as a potential injury replacement.
"He hit the [stuffing] out of the ball," Leyland said Tuesday morning. "He came out and faced Putkonen. We had Putkonen throw to hitters, because Putkonen needed to throw in case something happened and hitters could see some more speed rather than just BP pitchers."
Dirks has been known to hit for power in batting practice. His nine home runs in the regular season marked a career high, but it also came with by far his most playing time since he broke into the big leagues in 2011. His .363 slugging percentage was the lowest of his career.
Unless Dirks has a breakout game in Game 3 against the Red Sox, his start will likely be a one-time assignment. Leyland said Tuesday that he plans on starting Jose Iglesias at shortstop in Game 4 (8 p.m. ET, FOX) behind starting pitcher Doug Fister, owner of the fourth-highest ground ball-fly ball ratio in the Majors in the regular season. That would push Jhonny Peralta to left field.
Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.