No timetable for Dirks’ return

DETROIT — Andy Dirks is just a bored baseball player right now.

The Tigers outfielder has been on the disabled list since May 31 because of right Achilles tendinitis leaving him stuck using a walking boot.

“It’s just one of those things that we just got to get that spot healed,” Dirks said. “Timetable-wise, I have no idea. It’s been a rough injury for me. I’ve had a few little injuries here or there, but nothing to keep me out.”

Dirks has learned that unlike a muscle strain, a tendon strain often takes longer to heal, and even more so when it’s a large tendon like the Achilles.

“I was thinking five days, but it’s been a month,” Dirks said. “I want to be out there and playing, but there’s nothing I can do except wait it out at this point. We’re doing a couple therapy things on it and trying everything to get it to heal faster.”

The training staff has tried pretty much everything — electric stimulation, heat, ice and rest.

Dirks acknowledges that when he originally hurt his hamstring, compensating for that likely led to the Achilles problem.

“When I strained it, I didn’t think it was that bad,” Dirks said. “I kept playing on it and it eventually got worse to where I couldn’t walk very good.”

Now, Dirks said his entire body, including his hamstring, feels great except for the Achilles.

“Once that spot heals up, I’ll be good to go,” Dirks said. “I’ll have to do some baseball stuff and might have to a little bit more rehab to stay in shape. I’ve been playing solid baseball for the last three years — this is the longest I’ve been without baseball in a while.”

Dirks is still working to maintain his upper body strength but there’s not a lot else he can do.

“I watched TV,” Dirks said. “Watched the game on TV. Played a little guitar. Rest. That’s about it. It’s pretty boring. I’ve got a pretty boring life right now.”

Trying to get hot before break

The Tigers have not had much luck in getting over the .500 mark, a place they have not been since they were 16-15 May 10.

One would think the Tigers had a chance to do pretty well in their final home stand before the All-Star break, hosting the 33-45 Minnesota Twins for four games and the 35-42 Kansas City Royals for three games.

Not so fast, said Tigers manager Jim Leyland.

“This team (Twins) just scored 10 runs the other day,” Leyland said. “This team’s pounding the hell out of the ball. This team was out of synch early, but this team’s getting back in the swing of things. The (Trevor) Plouffe kid’s got 18 home runs, they’ve got (Joe) Mauer, (Justin) Morneau, (Josh) Willingham, (Denard) Span. This is a pretty good offensive lineup, for sure.

“Every time people start talking about things like that, you get bit. We need to play good, and we need to play good no matter who we play, and we need to win games. It’s that simple. But it’s not that easy — it sounds simple, but it’s not easy.”

Home Run Derby bound

Monday evening it became official — Prince Fielder will take part in next Monday’s Home Run Derby at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Mo.

Fielder indicated Sunday he would be open to the idea.

American League captain Robinson Cano, who won the event last year, named Fielder along with Toronto’s Jose Bautista, Los Angeles’ Mark Trumbo and himself as AL participants.

Fielder won the event in 2009 when he played for the Milwaukee Brewers and was the National League captain last year.

This year’s National League captain is Los Angeles’ Matt Kemp. The rest of the NL participants are Miami’s Giancarlo Stanton, St. Louis’ Carlos Beltran and Colorado’s Carlos Gonzalez.

Leyland said it was fine with him if Fielder wanted to take part but he’s not quite as excited about the event as a whole.

“I don’t even know if the format has changed, so I really shouldn’t be talking about it — but the home run contest in the past has been way too long,” Leyland said. “Way too long. Way too many swings for those guys. Shouldn’t be that much. But that’s a showcase for those guys.”