Jackson's speed an asset in middle of order

Jackson's speed an asset in middle of order

DETROIT -- The offseason acquisition of Ian Kinsler, as well as the corresponding departure of Prince Fielder left a void in the middle of the Detroit lineup.

Kinsler has staked his claim to the leadoff slot. Meanwhile, the spot previously occupied by Fielder has been filled by Austin Jackson.

Jackson's speed gives pitchers a little something extra to think about in the heart of the order. He's stolen five bases this season entering play Sunday, three of them in the past week. Tigers manager Brad Ausmus gives his baserunners the green light to swipe a bag when they think they can make it, and Jackson appears ready to take advantage of that freedom.

Jackson also entered Sunday's game on an eight-game hitting streak, batting .303 on the season.

"I think he's comfortable there," Ausmus said of Jackson's new role. "He's definitely given quality at-bats. Even a lot of his outs are well-hit. He seems comfortable in that segment of the lineup."

Matt Slovin is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.