Leyland offers encouraging health update

The Sports Xchange

It may seem as if the Tigers are at a crossroad, but manager Jim Leyland said the intersection is still a ways off.

"The first step is to fight through this," Leyland said before Detroit lost again Wednesday, this time a 9-6 defeat to Cleveland that was the Indians' fifth win in five games between the teams this season. "Then we have to get the team well and play good at some point.

"We've got to get our ducks in a row, but you can't start by saying, 'We'll get this started when we get everybody back.' No."

Leyland reported good news on the injury front.

Austin Jackson is going out on a short rehab assignment beginning Thursday and could come off the disabled list this weekend, although he didn't specify when.

Andy Dirks is feeling better, although he's not eligible to come off the disabled list until mid-month, shortly after starter Doug Fister is eligible. Fister, Leyland said, is improving also.

Alex Avila went on the disabled list, and he'll be out until the third week of the month but should be able to start a rehab assignment before then.

Rookie Bryan Holaday was brought up and caught Wednesday night, collecting his first major league hit.

Holaday will catch until Gerald Laird's sore hamstring is pain-free, which could happen this weekend. Leyland said Detroit brought Holaday up and designated Omir Santos for assignment chiefly because Holaday, a 2010 sixth-round draft choice, is a better offensive threat.

Detroit resumes interleague play this weekend with a series at Cincinnati before moving on to Chicago to play the Cubs. Leyland wants a full bench in Cincinnati, but that doesn't seem likely to occur until Saturday or Sunday, when Jackson can return.

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