Andy Dirks improving, but not close to resuming baseball activities

SEATTLE, WA - MAY 08: Left fielder Andy Dirks #12 of the Detroit Tigers catches a fly ball by Ichiro Suzuki #51 of the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field on May 8, 2012 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

One bright spots for the Detroit Tigers this season has been the performance of Andy Dirks. In his 2nd season, Dirks is hitting .328 with an .894 OPS, standout numbers for a corner outfielder. But his year, much like the Tigers' own, was derailed by injury. Dirks has been out of the lineup and in a walking boot since late May with tendinitis in his right Achilles.

Recent reports had Dirks returning to the lineup by the All-Star break. Much like those involving Victor Martinez, the reports were overly optimistic.

Dirks was examined by a foot and ankle specialist in Detroit today. The results were not what the Tigers wanted to hear.

Jim Leyland:

"He’s not right. He’s not ready to start any baseball activities. We were hoping for that. We didn’t get it."

Tigers head athletic trainer Kevin Rand:

"He’s much improved, but still has point tenderness there. So he’s going to continue to be in the boot for another week and he’ll also receive shock wave therapy."

Even when Dirks no longer needs the walking boot, he will not be activated. There will be more rehabbing of the injury required, which would then lead to the resumption of baseball activities. Dirks will not be rushed back from injury, meaning he isn't returning anytime soon.

Before he was hurt, Dirks turned out to be the only Tigers' corner outfielder hitting and fielding like, well, a big league corner outfielder. The Tigers have badly missed Dirks in the number 2 spot in the batting order and his solid defense in left.

With no definite return in sight for Dirks, the Tigers need someone to step up. Surprisingly, Quintin Berry has helped fill the void. Unfortunately, Delmon Young and Brennan Boesch haven't, making Dirks' lengthy absence that much more painful.

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