BALTIMORE -- With the Tigers not hitting on the field at Camden Yards on Friday, the team medical staff took the opportunity to test out Austin Jackson's left hamstring and see just how close he might be to game action.
On an otherwise empty diamond, there was Jackson accelerating around first base as if he was legging out a double. It's the type of acceleration that gave him trouble when he was trying to play through a hamstring pull a few weeks ago. Head athletic trainer Kevin Rand watched him closely.
Jackson told FOX Sports Detroit on Thursday that he hopes to be ready for a Minor League rehab assignment at some point next week. He'll have to take batting practice and shag fly balls for a few days before he's cleared, but that shouldn't be much trouble if he's running pain-free.
The Tigers have been fortunate to get production out of center field over the last few weeks with Jackson out, manager Jim Leyland has said more than once. After two 1-0 extra-inning losses to the Pirates in three days, however, Leyland said Thursday that they might finally be feeling his impact.
"You're seeing a little bit of the absence of Austin starting to catch up with us," Leyland said.
Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.