Tigers' Jackson nears return

Tigers' Jackson nears return

Published Jun. 6, 2012 6:26 p.m. ET

DETROIT — The Detroit Tigers appear to be one step closer to getting their center fielder back.

Austin Jackson, on the 15-day disabled list since May 17 with an abdominal strain, is headed to Triple-A Toledo on Thursday to begin a rehabilitation assignment.

Jackson has been taking batting practice with his teammates for a few days and was pleased with the progress.

"Pretty good," Jackson said. "Didn't have any pain. I was able to really let it go the last couple rounds and it felt pretty good."

Jackson said he's been able to go four or five rounds each time, which is more than he was able to do before. He said the last time he tried he could only go one round before feeling some discomfort.

Jackson's running has also progressed to the point where he's not in pain anymore.

"The running went well," Jackson said. "That was the big thing that was holding me back before was, I wasn't able to run. But I've been able to get out there and run up to full speed with no problems.

"That's definitely a good sign. Probably the last three or four days, I've been running close to full speed and it hasn't been giving me any problems."

It would be a nice change for the Tigers to have someone come off the DL rather than go on it, as catcher Alex Avila did Wednesday.

"It's tough," Jackson said. "There's nothing you can do about it. You gotta keep playing. It has been a lot of injuries. It's just part of the game."

In other roster moves made Wednesday, the Tigers designated the contract of catcher Omir Santos for assignment, purchased the contract of catcher Bryan Holaday from Toledo and recalled the contract of right-hander Jose Ortega from the Triple-A club.

Holaday was the starting catcher Wednesday and batted ninth. With the Mud Hens, Holaday hit .248 with six doubles, a triple and 10 RBI in 36 games.

Ortega was 3-4 with a 4.03 ERA and 37 strikeouts in 23 outings with the Mud Hens.