As expected, the Detroit Tigers have announced that they’ve activated Austin Jackson from the disabled list and optioned rookie Avisail Garcia back to AAA. Jackson, who has been out of big league action since May 11 with hamstirng soreness, completed a three-game rehab stint with the Toledo Mud Hens that saw him pick up three hits and a walk in 14 plate appearances. The numbers aren’t as important as Jackson getting back into the groove of baseball.
Jackson missed a very similar stretch of the season last year when he was out from May 16 to June 9. Injuries haven’t been anything like a chronic problem for Jackson – it was an abdominal strain last year – but missing a month every season isn’t a good pattern to get into. Not that he’s choosing it.
Garcia performed well while with the big club – he hit .288/.324/.455 in 71 plate appearances – and almost certainly would be a better reserve for the team than Don Kelly, but the Tigers have his long-term development to think about. Garcia will be a bigger benefit to the Tigers next year and the year after and the year after if he can continue to play every day in these formative years.
Garcia is positioned to again be the first guy called up should another outfield injury situation arise, he’s all but guaranteed a spot in the big leagues when rosters expand in September, and it’s possible that he eventually makes the playoff roster ahead of Kelly, but for now his job is to go to Toledo and get regular plate appearances.