A week ago, the Detroit Tigers' best player hadn't been Prince Fielder or Miguel Cabrera or Alex Avila or even the immortal Delmon Young. The Tigers' best player, their best player by far, had been Austin Jackson. The same Austin Jackson who posted a 690 OPS last season was, a week ago, sitting on a brilliant 958 OPS, easily the best on the squad. Throw in Jackson's Gold Glove-quality defense in center field, and it really wasn't close: Austin Jackson was the 2012 Detroit Tigers' Most Valuable Player.
Maybe he was flying too close to the sun, because last week Jackson strained an abdominal muscle while swinging the bat, and he hasn't played since. It's been eight days and Jackson still hasn't been placed on the Disabled List, but that might change soon. John Lowe:
Ryan Raburn is due to return from the bereavement list Friday. The Tigers will have to take a player off the roster to make room for Raburn when he returns.
If the Tigers put Jackson on the 15-day DL in the next few days, the time he has missed so far will count against the 15 days. A player’s assignment to the disabled list can be backdated up to 10 days. So if Jackson goes on the disabled list in the next few days, he’d be eligible to return to action a week from Friday -- after being out 15 days since he last played.
With Raburn gone, the Tigers have turned to 27-year-old Quintin Berry, with a sub-700 career OPS in the minor leagues. In other related news, the Tigers just finished getting swept by Cleveland, and now stand six games behind the first-place Tribe. It's still early and the Tigers still have a pretty good chance of getting where they're supposed to be. But I'll bet someone's big hairy finger isn't far from the panic button...