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Andy Dirks needs back surgery, out three months

Mar 4, 2014, 4:46 PM EDT

Andy Dirks AP

Tigers outfielder Andy Dirks is expected to miss at least 12 weeks following back surgery, the team announced.

Dirks had been slated to platoon with free agent signing Rajai Davis in left field, taking most of the playing time as the left-handed-hitting option, so his injury opens the door for Davis to take on a bigger portion of the starts.

Davis brings a ton of speed to the table and is a plus defender in left field, but he hasn’t shown the ability to hit right-handed pitching consistently. Dirks, meanwhile, is a career .278 hitter with a .751 OPS versus righties.

  1. historiophiliac - Mar 4, 2014 at 5:08 PM


    • proudlycanadian - Mar 4, 2014 at 5:09 PM

      Not really. Rajai Davis is a better player than Dirks.

      • historiophiliac - Mar 4, 2014 at 5:20 PM

        We shall see.

      • proudlycanadian - Mar 4, 2014 at 5:26 PM

        Yes you will.

      • Reflex - Mar 4, 2014 at 5:55 PM

        I was initially inclined to agree with the statement that Davis is an upgrade anyway, but looking at the stats he really is only a marginal one, is older, and last year was below average after two terrible seasons…

        Detroit really should have re-signed Peralta. The whole team would look way better right now if they had.

      • proudlycanadian - Mar 4, 2014 at 6:25 PM

        You are forgetting his impact on the base paths. Davis is a major threat to steal both second and third.

      • dirtyharry1971 - Mar 4, 2014 at 6:31 PM

        Yea Davis strikes out a TON, has little to no power, doesn’t walk or hit for a high average. And Dirks had a pretty good year before last and is much younger and easily has more upside and PC thinks davis is better. Yep, Rigggtttttt.

      • dirtyharry1971 - Mar 4, 2014 at 6:31 PM

        You can’t steal first base

      • Reflex - Mar 4, 2014 at 8:28 PM

        PC – Davis had a WAR of 1.8 last year to Dirks 1.1. Both were below an average major league starter. But more importantly, the previous two seasons Dirks dramatically outperformed Davis in total value, even including the base paths. Given the age difference, I’d say that Dirks has a considerably higher chance to be a net positive this season than Davis.

        Like I said, initially I was with you on this until I looked at their actual numbers. Its not pretty, Davis’ reputation far exceeds his actual production.

    • tigertails203 - Mar 5, 2014 at 5:31 PM

      Hey Mr. Dombrowski, time to go get another bat…and hurry!

  2. baldcrabbydaddy38 - Mar 4, 2014 at 5:42 PM

    Daniel Fields or that big hulking kid Moya should win the other outfield spot now

  3. philliesblow - Mar 4, 2014 at 5:55 PM

    More time for DKB!

    • historiophiliac - Mar 4, 2014 at 9:39 PM

      Oh, God, no.

  4. spudchukar - Mar 4, 2014 at 6:51 PM

    Gently, Dirks.

    • unclemosesgreen - Mar 5, 2014 at 8:49 AM

      I wish I was smart enough to figure out how to give you 1,000 thumbs up for the Douglas Adams reference. But I still think digital watches are totally amazing, so ….

  5. frank433 - Mar 4, 2014 at 7:40 PM

    It’s got to be hard to carry around that large of a neck all day. Should have been able to easily predict future lower back problems wit the size of it.

  6. papacrick - Mar 4, 2014 at 7:45 PM

    Dirks was great when he was winning WS MVP playing Winter Ball, building up confidence before blazing through ST nearly hitting .500 and winning a roster spot seemingly out of nowhere. After hitting .320 in his first season as a part timer, he lost his drive to improve and skipped winter ball knowing his place in MLB is cemented. Started 2013 terribly slow and never got it going before suffering another injury. The end

  7. weaselpuppy - Mar 4, 2014 at 11:11 PM

    Dirks was one of three finalists for the Golf Glove in LF last year. Rajai Davis despite his speed is a below average defender due to bad reads, bad jumps and no arm. Not a great job of research by the writer.

    I expect they will play Rajai more, get him to make more contact (maybe, been tried) when facing righties…and bench him against a tough righty and put Kelly in there. Urgh.

    Moya is 1.5 years away at soonest….no strikezone judgment yet. If Dirks’ back doesn’t come around, we could see Fields up by midseason. Hopefully he thrives and stays on the roster for a long time. He’s a great at nothing good at a lot type of guy…not the same talent as Cam Maybin but a higher floor.

    • weaselpuppy - Mar 4, 2014 at 11:12 PM

      wow…major edit function need there. GOLD glove…lol

    • unclemosesgreen - Mar 5, 2014 at 8:52 AM

      I haven’t seen enough of Davis to agree or disagree, but one thing is certain – Dirks’ injury will give the new defensive metrics for route efficiency time to laser in on Rajai. I’ll be watching! Also can’t wait to see if they confirm my eyeballs’ suspicion that Jacoby Ellsbury often takes horrible routes to fly balls as well.

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