SEATTLE -- The way Andy Dirks has been hitting lately, it's far from automatic that a left-handed starting pitcher could stop him. A bad hamstring, however, could.
That was the big reason Tigers manager Jim Leyland cited in not starting Dirks Wednesday night against Mariners left-hander Jason Vargas. It was the same reason Leyland pulled him Tuesday night as one of his defensive substitutions.
"I'm giving him a night off," Leyland said Wednesday afternoon. "I mean, I'll pinch-hit him if I have to, but kind of I'm letting that [rest]. I'm going to tell him to go in and get treated.
"He's OK, he's playing and he's playing hard. But if he doesn't have to go all out, he's not going all out. And I don't mean that derogatory. I mean that as a compliment."
Ryan Raburn started in left field, as he has often been doing against left-handed starters lately, with Danny Worth starting at second base. The difference Wednesday is that Mariners left-hander Jason Vargas has given up his share of hits to left-handed hitters since the start of last season, nullifying the lefty-righty splits.
Dirks will likely be back in the lineup Thursday against Oakland right-hander Bartolo Colon. He has held left-handed hitters to a .228 average this year but given up extra bases on 11 of those 23 hits, including five homers.