COMMENTARY | A major-league player almost never wants to hear the news that he's heading to the disabled list, whether it's a short trip or a long-term stay. In the midst of a breakout season, Detroit Tigers center fielder Austin Jackson received the news that he's been placed on the 15-day DL with a pulled left hamstring.
There's no reason to panic, but it's obvious that many fans will. While the Tigers lost an irreplaceable catalyst for at least 14 days in Jackson, they do possess several internal options to get them through in the meantime.
Outfielder Avisail Garcia was called up from Triple-A Toledo on May 13 to replace Jackson in center field. While Garcia won't provide the difference that Jackson can, he can take advantage of his second cup of coffee in the majors, this time in a non-pressure situation.
Garcia probably would've made the team out of spring training, but a heel contusion put an end to that. He raked at Triple-A when he finally was healthy enough to make a return to the field, hitting .432 with one home run, four RBIs, a .447 OBP, a .988 OPS, and a .541 slugging percentage.
While Garcia is the best in-house option during Jackson's absence, Don Kelly still remains a viable possibility. Kelly doesn't have nearly the same offensive potential that the opposition possess, but he does provide reliable defense, which the Tigers always are in need of.
Another potential option the Tigers have is their current left fielder, Andy Dirks. He's played only 16 major-league games as a center fielder, with all of them coming in the 2011 season. Dirks provides much more offensive prowess than Kelly, but his .969 fielding percentage in those 16 games is a reason why he's better suited in left field.
It's only the second week of May, and plenty of baseball remains to be played, 126 games to be exact. There's no reason to panic, because Jackson will return to Comerica Park's spacious outfield in about two weeks.
If there's anything the Tigers and their fans should worry about, it's the offensive inconsistencies that have continued into this season.
Ricky Lindsay has followed the Detroit Tigers and Major League Baseball with a close eye from Metro Detroit for several years. He's a sportswriter for his college newspaper, The Michigan Journal, and broadcasts games for the Michigan Lightning, a semi-professional football team.
You can find him on Twitter @RLindz35.
- Sports & Recreation
- Detroit Tigers
- Avisail Garcia
- Austin Jackson