TORONTO -- Just when Andy Dirks seemed to be making progress towards a late-season stint with the Tigers, his rehab from back surgery is on hold once again. This time, it might be a longer delay.
One day after the Tigers transferred Dirks' Minor League rehab assignment from Class A West Michigan to Triple-A Toledo, the team recalled his assignment. His left hamstring strain sustained Wednesday is worse than initially thought, and worse than day to day.
"If it was day to day, we probably would've carried it," head athletic trainer Kevin Rand. "It wasn't just a two- or three-day type of hamstring [injury]. It's a little bit more extensive."
Dirks strained the hamstring running in the outfield on Wednesday for West Michigan against Lake County. Rand said they had hoped he'd be ready to play at Toledo on Friday night, but he wasn't able to take batting practice. At that point, he was shut down.
Rand said he anticipates Dirks being out longer than five days, at which point the 20-day limit on his rehab assignment resets.
Dirks' rehab assignment originally began exactly a month ago. He played in six games at Class A Advanced Lakeland before being sidelined by lower back soreness, then restarted his assignment at West Michigan a week ago.
The promotion to Toledo was long planned as the final hurdle to a return to Detroit, mainly to get him a look at advanced pitching compared to Class A ball. If he's out for a while, the question will become whether he has enough time left in the Minor League schedule to rehab and be ready for big league pitching and running in the outfield.
"He's going to remain in Toledo," Rand said. "He's going to continue to get treatment in Toledo until he's obviously ready to play again."