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 t...