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Dirks returns to lineup after intercostal strain

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Outfielder Andy Dirks returned to the Tigers lineup on Friday for the first time since Sunday, after missing most of the week with a left intercostal strain.

Dirks was slotted into the No. 2 spot in the batting order and played left field for 4 1/2 innings, before he was replaced by Nick Castellanos, who was originally scheduled to play left and bat fifth.

Tigers manager Jim Leyland said before the game that Dirks would not play the entire time. Dirks was feeling better early in the week, but Leyland said he wanted to make sure he had a clean bill of health before re-inserting him into the lineup.

"I just wait until they tell me they're ready to play," Leyland said. "I don't like talking on a day to day basis, like a guy's 70 percent, 80 percent, 90 percent, I don't want to discuss all that. So he's ready to go today and he's gonna play and hopefully he'll be healthy ever after."

After a 1-for-3 afternoon that included two strikeouts and a single to center, Dirks is now 1-for-6 in two games, with four strikeouts..