DETROIT - After almost three full weeks on the disabled list, Dmitri Young is ready to return.
As an Erie SeaWolf.
Young, out since April 15 with a strained right quadriceps, has agreed to go on a rehabilitation assignment that will likely last two games. He could rejoin the Detroit Tigers as soon as Friday night in Minnesota.
"I told him, `When you're right, we want you back, but don't be afraid to stay an extra day if you need it," manager Jim Leyland said before the Tigers' 4-1 win over Kansas City Tuesday night. "When he's in there, we're going to need production."
Leyland strongly encouraged Young to accept the rehab assignment, which veteran players have a right to reject. Leyland believes that position players need a short time in the minor leagues after a stint on the DL, while pitchers can accomplish the same thing with a simulated game.
"If it was me, I'd want to get some at-bats," Leyland said. "I'm not really sure eight at-bats is enough."
Don't take that as criticism of Young. Actually, Leyland was happy that his designated hitter agreed to go to Erie.
"Dmitri was great," Leyland said. "He came in here (to the manager's office) like a man. He said he had talked to his teammates, and that they encouraged him to get some at-bats.
"I'm tickled, but I think it will be to his benefit."
The Tigers haven't decided how they'll make room for Young on the roster, but one possibility is to go with 11 pitchers and send rookie Jordan Tata to the minors to start. Tata could be headed to the minor leagues, anyway, because Matt Mantei has pitched well in two appearances for Triple-A Toledo and could join the Tigers at some point soon.
"It would probably be more beneficial in the long haul to have (Tata) out starting," Leyland said. "But we haven't reached that point yet."
If it's not Tata, the most likely candidates to be sent out would be outfielder Alexis Gomez or Ramon Santiago, the second utility infielder.
http://www.mlive.com/tigers/stories/ind ... xml&coll=1