15 July 2012
According to the Detroit Free Press, Andy Dirks will be evaluated when the team returns home on Monday in the hopes that he could begin his return to baseball this week.
Andy Dirks will be evaluated tomorrow in Detroit. Team hopes Dirks will being rehab assignment this week.— Freep Tigers (@freeptigers) July 15, 2012
I’m just speculating here, but with the Toledo Mud Hens being on the road until Friday, Dirks could see a couple of games in West Michigan (who return home to Comstock Park on Wednesday) if he is indeed ready to play right away. (West Michigan and Toledo typically get the bulk of the Tigers’ rehab assignments due to their proximity to Detroit.)
There’s no word yet on how long Dirks’ rehab assignment would be, but the Tigers would be faced with a (somewhat) difficult roster decision once he returns to the big club. There are probably three candidates to be ousted upon his arrival.
Don Kelly (.183/.283/.247): Kelly is probably the player that would be most redundant if Dirks were back on the roster. They’re both left handed bats that play average to plus defense in the corner outfield. Kelly’s only real use recently has been as a late inning defensive replacement, but he might not need to be used as frequently with Dirks in the lineup. His ability to play center field also wouldn’t help him much with Quintin Berry’s presence on the roster. He can also play third base, but he’s only made three appearances there this season, and Danny Worth or Ramon Santiago could cover the position effectively enough in a pinch. Kelly is out of minor league options.
Ryan Raburn (.171/.226/.254): Raburn will definitely be the fan favorite to get the boot. He’s a right handed bat, and the team’s been looking to get a right handed hitter going, but he hasn’t done anything of consequence at the plate so far this season. If Raburn was gone, then the corner outfield options would become Delmon Young plus four left handed hitters (Dirks, Berry, Kelly, and Brennan Boesch). Since Young can’t reasonably play the outfield, this may not be an appealing option. This is Raburn’s final option year, but he’s now earned veteran status so the team would need his permission to send him to the minor leagues.
Danny Worth (.193/.277/.228): No one knows the stretch of I-75 between Detroit and Toledo better than Danny Worth. He’s been the victim of multiple roster moves already have been optioned and recalled three times this season. He hits well every time he’s been sent down to the minor leagues, but he hasn’t been able to translate that to the big leagues. He might be the team’s best glove at both shortstop and second base though, and he can also play a fairly effective third base as well. Worth would be the easiest move to make as the team could simply option him out.
Matt Snyder is the editor of The Tigers Den. He can be reached on Twitter @snyder_matthew.