No plan set for clearing a spot for Dirks' return

The Sports Xchange

Sometime over the next couple of weeks, the Tigers will be faced with another unpleasant roster decision: what to do when Andy Dirks is finished with his rehab assignment.

Returning Dirks to the roster would give Detroit one more outfielder than it needs and one too many left-handed-hitting outfielders.

"I don't know what we're going to when Dirks comes back," manager Jim Leyland said. "I don't know. It's obvious. It's out there in front of you guys. You know what we've got."

Optioning Dirks to Toledo, where he's currently playing, is a faint possibility, but sending down a guy who was hitting .300 when he hurt his right Achilles tendon at the end of May and was providing the club with some energy while driving in runs is a touch call.

Then again, it would be hard to send down a guy like Quintin Berry, who is the Tigers' feel-good story of the season for the way he filled in for Dirks and Austin Jackson.

"One thing for sure, Dirks and Berry both can't play," Leyland said. "I'm sure you've all got that figured out."

Don Kelly and Ryan Raburn are Detroit's least-productive outfielders, both reduced to part-time roles. Raburn had his second base time taken away Monday when the Tigers acquired Omar Infante, and he is only going to play left when left-handed pitchers are working against Detroit.

Kelly is most frequently seen as the caddy for Brennan Boesch in right.

But cutting them? Raburn, optioned out once this year, has accumulated too much service time to be sent down again without his consent.

Kelly would have to be designated for assignment before he could be outrighted to the minors. There's a high likelihood some team would claim him off waivers were that to happen.

For right now, the answer may be obvious, but there is no answer.

"Everybody always wants to be ahead of the curve," Leyland said. "I can't be ahead of the curve. That's why I get testy, because everybody wants to be ahead. The next (question) that's going to start is, 'Oh, what are you going to do when Dirks gets back?' I don't know, so there's no sense in going there, because I have no bleeping idea.

"That's why I'm crusty. You guys have a way of getting around the question to the question to try to find out, which is your job, but I have no idea what's going to happen."

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