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Tuesday, July 29, 2014
Garcia progresses toward 2014 return

By Doug Padilla

DETROIT -- Avisail Garcia continued to make progress toward a comeback before the end of the season, taking part in a live batting practice session Tuesday that also served as a tune-up for reliever Matt Lindstrom.

Garcia used a midseason approach at the plate, doing more than simply swinging for power. He is hoping to go out on a rehab assignment, but a date for his departure has not yet been set.

"Yeah, I'm pretty close," Garcia said. "I got a simulated game today and felt great. I hit a couple of balls good. I'm just waiting for the time when they sent me down."

This past weekend, when the team was in Minnesota, manager Robin Ventura finally admitted that it is possible Garcia will return this year. Before that, general manager Rick Hahn had been definitive in saying the timetable for the right fielder won't be changed from the original plan of having him back next year.

"I don't think we're going to be pressing that he has to make it here, but if he's totally healthy and he's ready to go I know I would be happy to see him," Ventura said. "He can make it here whenever he makes it here. If he can get some time in the minor leagues at some point, just to be able to get there and play, then you figure that out afterward. You expect him to get some time in the minor leagues."

Garcia says he feels no residual effects from his shoulder surgery in April. He was injured diving for a ball April 9 at Colorado.

"I want to play so bad," Garcia said. "That's why I have been working hard every day. So let's see what happens for the next couple of days."

Lindstrom, who had surgery on his left ankle in late May, could be headed out on a rehab assignment as early as this weekend.

"I'm going to go get my work in down there and it will be a baseball decision after that," Lindstrom said. "I'm pretty confident in what we've been doing up here. Out there what I was doing today, I didn't even keep in the back of my mind with my ankle, so that was good.”

The right-hander, who opened the season as the closer, thinks he could be back after two or three appearances in the minor leagues.

"We have some type of timeline in mind but probably shouldn't say exactly when because we don't want to get put in a bad position," Lindstrom said. "But everything has gone basically as planned so far."