Dirks anticipates late-June return to Tigers

Dirks anticipates late-June return to Tigers

CLEVELAND -- If Andy Dirks is going to rejoin the Tigers in June as originally hoped, it's appearing more and more likely to be later in the month. The left-handed hitter, who underwent back surgery in early March, continues to do light baseball activity at the team's Spring Training facility in Lakeland, Fla.

That activity involves some light swings and non-intensive baseball drills, but not yet the full activity needed for game action. He'll need to do that for a while before being cleared to begin a Minor League rehab assignment. Add up the time, and an early June return appears unlikely.

The early season play of Rajai Davis has made Dirks' absence almost a forgotten topic, but his eventual return would provide the Tigers with a reliable left-handed bat to take some starts in left and make an impact off the bench. The lone left-handed batter on Detroit's bench for most games against a right-handed starter is Don Kelly.

Dirks underwent microdiscectomy surgery on March 10 to repair a disc in his back. He's 10 weeks into what was originally hoped to be a 12-week rehab process.

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.