As you may already know, the Tigers placed Austin Jackson on the 15-day disabled list this morning with a hamstring injury. The injury had been hampering Jackson for a while, having been given days off in Houston and against Cleveland this past weekend. After starting off the season with respectable numbers, May has been less than kind to Jackson and one has to think the hamstring injury could be a big reason why. Through April, he had been getting on base at .355 clip while batting .286. In May, Jackson has only mustered a .268 BP while hitting .231. The last seven days were even worse, seeing Jackson post a .158/.200/.211 lines, good for an OPS of .411. Hopefully the two-week rest and likely rehab assignment in Erie and/or Toledo will see a return of the 2012 version of Jackson that gave the Tigers a true spark atop their lineup by hitting .300, getting on base almost 38 percent of the time (.377 OBP) and combining that with a good deal of power to produce an OPS of .856.
To fill in, the Tigers called up Avisail Garcia, the 21 yea old prospect who hit very well for them (minus power) in September of last year and was dynamite in the American League Championship Series against the Yankee. Garcia, known as “Mini-Miggy” for his striking resemblance to reigning AL MVP Miguel Cabrera, will platoon in center-field with the left-handed hitting Don Kelly.
While some may wonder why the Tigers didn’t call up Quintin Berry it is worthwhile to point out that he is struggling to even hit Triple-A pitching right now. Through 32 games he is hitting .190 with only 6 extra-base hits and 30 K’s.
Garcia was thought to have a chance to make the Opening Day lineup for Detroit but was injured late in Spring Training. In 14 games since returning from injury, spread between Single A Lakeland and Triple A Toledo, Garcia has been red-hot. He was hitting .426/.470/.607 between the two league when the Tigers called him up this morning. While he may not remind anyone of Austin Jackson in center, he is a better option than moving Andy Dirks over from left or the aging Torii Hunter over from right.
It remains to be seen if this will be a straight platoon, with Kelly playing against righties and Garcia playing against lefties, or if Garcia will be given an opportunity against both. For now it looks like Dirks will replace Jackson as the Tigers lead-off hitter most days. It is always fun to see a highly touted young player get an opportunity, and while the circumstances are unfortunate, hopefully Garcia will make the most of it.