Back in Detroit, Iglesias gets extra day before return

Back in Detroit, Iglesias gets extra day before return

DETROIT -- Jose Iglesias returned to the Tigers' clubhouse feeling healthy after straining his left hamstring two weeks ago. He did not return from the 15-day disabled list just yet.

While the Tigers recalled the slick-fielding shortstop from his Minor League rehab assignment, they decided to wait until Saturday before activating him from the DL, allowing him a day to rest after playing the last four nights for Triple-A Toledo on rehab.

Even if delayed by a day, it's another big step toward restoring the Tigers to full strength.

Iglesias will have spent just over the minimum 15 days on the DL after straining his left hamstring on a close play at first base two weeks ago in Seattle. The Tigers acquired former Angels All-Star Erick Aybar from Atlanta a week and a half ago to help fill the spot, but Iglesias' defense still left a major void defensively, particularly his double-play work with second baseman Ian Kinsler.

That said, manager Brad Ausmus told reporters the past two days that Aybar will still get his share of playing time at shortstop if he produces. The 32-year-old entered Friday batting 7-for-30 as a Tiger with two doubles, a home run and two RBIs.

"We'll see. Whoever plays better is going to play," Ausmus said Friday. "It's as simple as that."

The 26-year-old Iglesias was batting .249 (91-for-366) for the season, with 17 doubles, four home runs, 27 RBIs and a .625 OPS before the injury. He hit 6-for-16 with a double and a home run this week on his four-game rehab assignment with Toledo.

"I feel good right now," Iglesias said Friday. "Timing is going to come back. I feel good enough. I hit good [in Toledo]. I feel good enough to play."

Iglesias' return leaves third baseman Nick Castellanos as the last Tigers position player left on the DL. Castellanos is expected to be out until mid-September. Pitchers Jordan Zimmermann and Mike Pelfrey remain on the 15-day DL as well, but the performances of youngsters Matt Boyd and Daniel Norris, along with veteran Anibal Sanchez, have helped make up for their absence.

"Guys seem to slowly be trickling back into playing shape," Ausmus said. "We still have a little ways to go with guys like Zimmermann and Pelfrey, who have a number of rehab starts in front of them, but Iggy -- barring something strange -- should be fine for tomorrow."

Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.