DETROIT The Dominican Republic may be losing their hero at least this season.
Andy Dirks, who has played in the Dominican Winter League the last two years, might not return after this season.
"If I was Dirks, I would not play winter ball," manager Jim Leyland said the other day. "This is his first full, long major league season. I'm a firm believer that you have to get away from it."
Last season playing for Este, Dirks hit the series-winning hit, hence the nickname Dominican Hero.
Dirks did miss extended time this year with Achilles tendinitis, which is another reason Leyland would not recommend playing winter ball again.
"Dirks needs to get stronger." Leyland said. "I don't know yet whether he can take the wear and tear of playing every day. He's a very good baseball player. Potentially a very good major league player."
In 81 games this season, Dirks is batting .316 with seven home runs and 33 RBIs.
For Dirks, it's not something he's considered yet as his focus is elsewher...