Austin Jackson has hit the ground running after spending over a month on the disabled list. The Detroit Tigers‘ center fielder has tallied seven hits and five runs in four games.
Jackson was placed on the disabled list on May 12 with a pulled hamstring, which caused some concern as to whether or not he would be able to continue to be a threat on the base-paths. The Tigers clearly did the right thing by holding him out for as long as necessary, because he appears to be just fine.
The Tigers’ defense improves immensely with Jackson manning center field. He has the ability to make Comerica Park’s enormous outfield seem average. The Tigers, who filled in for Jackson, did decently at the plate, but they clearly missed his ability to cover all that ground in the outfield.
Jackson doesn’t get as much credit as he should for being the Tigers catalyst offensively. He has scored 38 runs in 38 games this season. He doesn’t need to steal bases to be a threat either. He often looks to advance from first to third on singles and takes bases on passed balls.
It’s great timing for Jackson’s return as well. Alex Avila and Anibal Sanchez were both put on the disabled list Monday, which has allowed them to keep Avisail Garcia in the lineup.
Jackson continues to improve defensively and is turning into one of the best lead off hitters in MLB. He’s on pace for a much better walk-to-strikeout ratio, which is key to him being able to kick-start the Tigers’ offense.