DETROIT -- Andy Dirks' Minor League rehab assignment has resumed. Or, to be more accurate, it has restarted.
After lower back soreness halted Dirks' rehab from back surgery two weeks ago, the Tigers cleared Dirks to resume game action. The left-handed-hitting outfielder will pick up his rehab assignment, this time at low Class A West Michigan.
Because so much time passed since Dirks' rehab was halted at high Class A Lakeland, he'll have the full allotment of 20 days available before the Tigers have to make a move. Manager Brad Ausmus said Dirks might not necessarily need the entire 20 days.
That's a change from Dirks' original assignment a few weeks ago, which head athletic trainer Kevin Rand compared to a Spring Training. Since Dirks already has a week of games and at-bats, he could conceivably be ready sooner.
"It's certainly nothing like when he restarted initially," Ausmus said. "He had been doing it for a little bit. He's not starting from ground level again, for sure."
Before any callup, though, Dirks is still expected to have his rehab assignment stop through Triple-A Toledo to see advanced pitching. The Mud Hens begin a 10-game homestand next Thursday, which could provide perfect timing for the next step.
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.