COMSTOCK PARK, Mich. -- After being drafted by the Detroit Tigers in the summer of 2008, Andy Dirks began his professional baseball career with the West Michigan Whitecaps.
His stint with West Michigan lasted all of three games - and Dirks never got to play at Fifth Third Ballpark.
The now-Detroit Tigers outfielder makes his Whitecaps home debut Friday night as he starts a six-game rehab assignment in West Michigan.
Dirks played three road games with the Whitecaps before breaking his hand in 2008.
He has yet to play in an MLB game this season after hurting his back in spring training.
"You need reps," Dirks told reporters after batting practice Friday afternoon. "You need at-bats to get into full game speed, full game motion. I'm just looking forward to getting on the field and playing. That's the only way you're gonna get ready."
Dirks had to cut his previous rehab stint short this year after his back injury flared up, but he says he's now as healthy as he has been in a while.
"I feel a lot better now than the last time I started an assignment," he said. Feeling really good, feeling strong."
"Feel like I'm ready to play some baseball."
Dirks has a .276 career batting average in three MLB seasons.