DETROIT — Mud Hens fans will have to hit the road to see the club’s first marquee rehab assignment this season.
Austin Jackson is set to join the Hens today as he finally makes his way back toward Detroit.
After sitting for the past month with a pulled hamstring, the Tigers center fielder will meet Toledo in Rochester today for the third game of the Hens’ eight-game road trip. Jackson will serve as the designated hitter today, play in the outfield Tuesday, take Wednesday off along with the team, and DH again Thursday in Toledo’s opener of a four-game series at Syracuse.
If all goes well, he would rejoin the Tigers on Friday for the start of their weekend series at Minnesota.
“That’s the plan,” manager Jim Leyland said after the Tigers’ 4-1 win over Cleveland on Sunday.
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Jackson was hitting .272 with 33 runs scored in 34 games before he was placed on the disabled list May 12.
SERVING TIME: Indians starter Carlos Carrasco will begin serving the suspension he has put off since April, the team announced Sunday.
Carrasco was suspended eight games for “intentionally throwing" at New York’s Kevin Youkilis — a penalty the Indians first circumvented by sending the pitcher to Triple-A Columbus immediately after the incident. He was recalled Saturday to fill the vacancy left by injured starter Zach McAllister.
After starting against the Tigers, he dropped the appeal and the suspension was reduced to seven games. He can return June 17 against the Royals.
“We can bring him back, and with this off day [Thursday], we can keep everybody in order,” Indians manager Terry Francona said. “Then we can slot him in where we think it best fits.”
NO FAVORITES: Leyland insisted it won’t be the result of any favors if the American League All-Star team is filled with Tigers.
“I’ll be very fair,” he said.
As manager of the defending league champions, Leyland will lead the AL team in next month’s Midsummer Classic at Citi Field in New York — a role he takes seriously.
He spent one weekend meeting with reporters combing through a packet of AL statistics.
Though fan voting determines the All-Star starters and player voting settles another portion of the 34-man roster, Leyland is responsible for picking five pitchers and a handful of position players.
“I’ve got a sophisticated system going that’s going to help me,” he said. “I’m being serious. I don’t want to say sophisticated, but I’ve got a system. I’ve got a lot of statistical analysis people are giving me.”
Miguel Cabrera and Torii Hunter are the two Tigers on pace to start, with Cabrera’s AL-leading 2,355,128 votes more than double those of his closest rival at third base: Baltimore’s Manny Machado.
Detroit looks to be well-represented.
First baseman Prince Fielder and shortstop Jhonny Peralta, who is third in the AL with a .338 average, both look to have a good shot. As do a few starters from a rotation widely regarded as the best in baseball this season.
Behind Cy Young Award winner Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer (8-0) is second in the AL in strikeouts (100), Anibal Sanchez is fifth in ERA (2.65), and Doug Fister is 5-3 with a 3.27 ERA.
As of latest ballot update, Fielder is second at first base behind the Orioles’ Chris Davis; Omar Infante is fourth at second base; Peralta is third at short, and Jackson is 13th in the outfield. For Cleveland, Carlos Santana is third at catcher and Mark Reynolds is third at DH.