July 31, 2014 at 1:54 pm

Tigers outfielder Andy Dirks to resume rehab assignment Friday

Because Andy Dirks was out more than five days with back inflammation, the six games he has already played on assignment in Lakeland won't count against him. (Elizabeth Conley / Detroit News)

Detroit — Tigers outfielder Andy Dirks will resume his injury rehab assignment with Single A West Michigan on Friday.

But because Dirks was out more than five days with back inflammation, the six games he has already played on assignment in Lakeland won’t count against him.

Dirks hit .313 in those six games.

He can be on rehab for 20 days upon resumption of his assignment.

Or as Tigers manager Brad Ausmus put it, “The meter restarts on 20 days. But that doesn’t mean he has to stay there for 20 days.”

The bottom line remains the same, however: The date on which Dirks will rejoin the Tigers, after lower back surgery forced him onto the disabled list on March 29 is uncertain.

Former Rockie?

Ausmus’ former team — sort of — will be in town this weekend when the Colorado Rockies visit Comerica Park for a three-game, interleague series.

Ausmus was an original Rockie, meaning he was one of their selections in the expansion draft of 1992.

They traded him the following July, however, to San Diego so he never played for them.

“I was at college (Dartmouth) in my room of the fraternity I was in, watching it on TV when they announced my name,” Ausmus said.

Ausmus had been in the Yankees’ organization since 1988, thinking he was going to be a Yankee, so the selection surprised him.

“My jaw kind of hit the floor,” he said. “If it happened now, it might have been tweeted out ahead of time, but back then, you actually had to watch TV to find out.

“That was before cellphones, too, so the Rockies called my parents. And my parents called me to give me the number of the guy to call back.”

Once he got over the shock of no longer being in the Yankees’ organization, Ausmus enjoyed his (short) time as a Rockies prospect.

“When you first sign and play in that organization for five years, you feel you’re never going to leave the team,” he said. “But you get over the shock. It was fun, actually, a new team with an inaugural spring training. I enjoyed it.

“Once you get sent down to the minor leagues, though (in this case, Colorado Springs), it doesn’t matter where you are, it’s the minor leagues.”

The process

How much more is Ausmus involved in trade talks as Tigers manager than he was as a special assistant for the San Diego Padres?

“It’s been pretty similar, but the difference is that I’m here right now,” Ausmus said. “When I was with the Padres, I was usually on a conference call from Cape Cod.

“Obviously I’m more involved directly here, but the discussions are similar.”

Of being a manager on trade deadline day, compared to being a player, Ausmus quipped, “The odds of being traded are a lot less.”