Since more than five days passed since Dirks was pulled off rehab, his countdown restarts, meaning he gets up to 20 days to play in minor league games before the Tigers have to make a decision. With just 2 1/2 weeks left in the Triple-A season, that all but ensures the Tigers don't have to bring him up before rosters expand Sept. 1. Since Dirks spent all season on the disabled list, he's eligible for the postseason roster regardless.
"If he plays tomorrow and plays through, I think that would be enough [time to be ready]," Ausmus said.
At this point, staying healthy enough to play through is the tricky part. If he can do it, he'll give the Tigers a left-handed hitting option in an outfield full of right-handed batters.
Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. Matt Slovin contributed to this report. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.