Tigers won’t rush Austin Jackson back from hamstring strain

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Austin Jackson is eligible to return from the disabled list on Monday, but it’s unlikely he’ll be ready by then.

According to Chris Iott of MLive.com, Tigers manager Jim Leyland said today that Jackson “really hasn’t done any physical activity” since he was placed on the disabled list with a strained right hamstring on May 12. He’s expected to go out on a minor league rehab assignment before being activated, so it sounds like he’s still a ways off.

“I want it right,” Leyland said. “We talked about that today: ‘Get it right.’ I don’t want him to come back 85 percent and try to play and then do it again. Try to get it as close to 100 percent as you can. You might not get it to 100 percent. Who knows.”

Jackson was batting .272/.333/.371 with two home runs, 11 RBI, five stolen bases and a .704 OPS in 34 games prior to the injury. Avisail Garcia, Don Kelly, and Andy Dirks have all played center field during his absence while Dirks and Omar Infante have split leadoff duties.

Yasiel Puig is still a free agent

Yasiel Puig
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Around this time last year, the ink was drying on Manny Machado‘s 10-year, $300 million contract with the Padres and Bryce Harper was about to put the finishing touches on his 13-year, $330 million deal with the Phillies. We had gotten used to premier free agents hanging out in limbo until late February and even into March. This past offseason, however, was a return to normal. The top three free agents — Gerrit Cole, Anthony Rendon, and Stephen Strasburg — all signed in December. Once the big names are off the board, the lesser free agents subsequently tend to find homes. There were a handful of noteworthy signings in January, but pretty much everyone was off the board when February began.

There are a handful of free agents remaining as I write this, with one name really sticking out: Yasiel Puig. Last season, between the Reds and Indians, Puig hit .267/.327/.458 with 24 home runs, 84 RBI, 76 runs scored, and 19 stolen bases in 611 plate appearances. He was one of only seven players in the league last year to hit at least 24 home runs and swipe at least 19 bases. While Puig has had some problems over the years, he still possesses a rare blend of power and speed that would seem useful.

The Marlins, White Sox, and Rockies have been linked to Puig this offseason. His market has been otherwise quiet since he became a free agent. The Athletic’s Jim Bowden suggests Puig will have to settle for a “pillow contract” — a one-year deal with which Puig reestablishes his market value, aiming to pursue a multi-year deal the following offseason. Along with the aforementioned three teams, Bowden suggests the Mariners, Indians, Pirates, Giants, Red Sox, and Cardinals as other teams that could potentially fit with Puig, which is not to be confused with teams having expressed interest in his services.