It was important for the Detroit Tigers that Andy Dirks was productive Monday night. It is even more important for the Tigers that he finally appears to be healthy.
Dirks hit a solo home run in the third inning and played a key role in the game-changing three-run sixth inning Monday night in a 4-3 victory over the Minnesota Twins.

Dirks hit .322 with an .857 OPS as a part-time player for the Tigers in 2012 and was counted on as the main left fielder heading into the 2013 season. But he got off to a terrible start and carried a .167 average with no home runs and just four RBIs into the game Monday night.

Tigers manager Jim Leyland did not play Dirks in any of the three games during the weekend series against the Atlanta Braves. He believed that a knee injury that Dirks suffered during spring training was part of the reason for his slow start and thought a rest would do Dirks some good.

"I was suspicious that the knee was bothering him swinging, and I think I was right about that," Leyland said. "It didn’t bother him at all yesterday, so we went with him tonight. We’ve got to get him going."

Dirks got things going with the solo home run in the third inning that cut Minnesota's lead to 2-1, but he showed signs that he was feeling better even before that. When he raced up the line in the first inning on an infield grounder, it appeared that he was running very well.