Originally written on Fox Sports Detroit  |  Last updated 10/24/14
TOLEDO, Ohio -- What Andy Dirks has been going through is actually worse than spring training. In the spring, Dirks was coming off his Dominican Hero performance in winter league ball and had no rust to shake off in Lakeland. As a result, Dirks batted .429 with 11 RBIs in 23 spring games (56 at-bats). Dirks carried that into the regular season with the Tigers, hitting .328 with four home runs and 16 RBIs in 37 games (134 at-bats). But Dirks lost all that momentum when he had to go on the disabled list with right achilles tendinitis on May 31. Dirks finally got to head out on a rehabilitation assignment on July 22 with the Toledo Mud Hens, the Tigers' Triple-A affiliate. He got a hit in each of his first four games but then tailed off, going 0-for-16 in his next four. "I know he got some hits early," Mud Hens manager Phil Nevin said. "But right when you come back, you may run into some balls and not really know what's going on and all of a sudden it starts sinking in and the timing is a little off." On Tuesday, Dirks got some of that timing back, going 2-for-4 with a home run and two runs scored. "Today was his best day swinging the bat," Nevin said. "It's also our first day out of the shadows. He's had some tough looks at it. When you're trying to get your timing down and you can't see the baseball, it makes it tough. Today was a really good day for him. He hit the ball on the screws three times and big home run there. Those add-on runs are big." Dirks said now that he's nine games into his rehabilitation assignment, he's feeling much better at the plate. "It's just mainly staying on the ball right now," Dirks said. "When you come back, you get a little antsy, you haven't played in a while and you want to hit it so hard sometimes that it kind of messes with your mechanics a little bit." Dirks' seventh-inning home run, his second with the Mud Hens, added to the lead, making it 7-2 over the Louisville Bats, and added to Dirks' confidence. "It felt good," Dirks said. "Anytime you can barrel up some balls and have some success, it feels good. But you've got to know in your mind, sometimes it's a little bit of a process. When you do kind of struggle for a minute, you just gotta keep working and stay relaxed. There's no reason to press, you've just got to get at-bats and get your timing and once you start hitting a few balls solid, usually it kind of builds." Because Dirks had just 29 at-bats coming into Tuesday's game, he wasn't all that concerned. "It's always frustrating a little bit when you're struggling but at the same time, you can't put that in your head, like, 'Man, I'm really struggling,'" Dirks said. "I've had 30 at-bats maybe, so it'd be a different scenario if you had 250 at-bats and you're still struggling. Then it would probably be a little worse. You just kind of take it for what it is, I didn't get hits in the last few games but you've got to look forward to the next one." One thing that Dirks is enjoying is the fact that he's actually able to play now without thinking about his achilles. "I feel good," Dirks said. "Just trying to have some fun, win some games, getting back to what I like to do instead of worrying about things, worrying about how it's feeling, just get out there and be able to just play and just think about the ball, that's it. Think about baseball instead of, if I move this way is it going to hurt?" Earlier in his rehab, Dirks did experience a little soreness, but was pleased that it did not linger. "There was one day there where I came in and it was sore but since then it's felt good," Dirks said. "I've been able to run down balls and feel like I can get to balls that I should without any problems as far as the injury is concerned." The Mud Hens are off Wednesday before starting a four-game home series against Rochester. So far, no decision has been made yet on when Dirks might return to the Tigers. "We haven't set anything," Dirks said. "The objective was to come down here and play and that's what I'm doing right now and that's what we're focused on. When everybody feels like it's time, then it'll happen."
PLAYERS: Andy DirksPhil Nevin
TEAMS: Detroit Tigers
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

C-USA hired PR firm to help Marshall’s playoff chances

Wilson denies rumored Harvin rift, blames media for scrutiny

Report: Cowboys could limit DeMarco Murray's touches

Lakers announce Steve Nash to miss season with back issues

Is Mack Brown the best option for SMU?

Jeremy Kerley on new contract: 'Bentleys for everybody'

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Buss: Any FA who won’t play with Kobe ‘probably a loser’

NFL to start airing its own anti-domestic violence PSAs

Ex-Bronco John Boyett punched cabbie, told cops to call Elway

Former NFL QB still feels effects of concussions every day

Robert Klemko given four-week suspension from The MMQB

Michael Vick: Percy Harvin won't be a monster here

NFL teams facing potential must-win scenarios in Week 8

WATCH: Jeremy Lin poses as Adidas employee for prank

WATCH: Peyton screams at fans to 'shut the f- up!'

Father auctioning off infant son's soccer club allegiance

Love thanks T'Wolves fans in essay for not burning his jersey

WATCH: Browns WR 'kicks out' son over favorite player snub

Memorabilia dealer wants Todd Gurley reinstated immediately

Aaron Rodgers gave girlfriend Olivia Munn a 'special ring'?

The 10 college football programs with most to gain in Week 9

Most disappointing potential dynasties of divisional era

WATCH: OHL hockey coach goes off on reporter: ‘F*** you!’

PK Subban as Michael Jackson at Canadiens' Halloween party

Tigers News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

NFL teams facing must-win scenarios in Week 8

Programs with a lot on the line this week

Wilson denies rumored Harvin rift

Lakers: Steve Nash out for season

Is Mack Brown SMU's best option?

Are sports leagues finally getting serious about domestic violence?

Brian Urlacher rips Jay Cutler

On Kevin Love, Kyrie Irving and embracing newfound roles

Top NFL storylines: Week 8

Kiffin's mom worried for son's safety

Report: Goodell will have to testify

Penguins do 'O Canada' following tragedy

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.