Detroit Tigers outfielder Mikie Mahtook got three hits in his first three at-bats Tuesday at Wrigley Field, just 36 hours after being recalled from Triple-A Toledo.
But don’t say he’s making up for lost time.
“You can’t make up for it. There’s nothing you can do to make up for lost time. The time’s gone,” Mahtook said.
Instead, Mahtook said he’s trying to approach his third stint with the big-league club with the same single-minded focus he’s used during his time with the Mud Hens.
“One of the hardest things to do when you get sent down unexpectedly is to focus on where you’re at, focus on the things that you can control,” Mahtook said. “It’s no different coming up here and jumping in in the middle of the season. You can’t the days you missed back, so you’ve just got to focus in on the things that you can control and that’s just playing here and now and competing every at-bat.”
Mahtook entered the season as the starting left fielder, but was optioned to Toledo after stumbling to a .129 (4-for-31) start over the next 10 games.
He returned for a two-week stint in May but has otherwise spent the entire season as a Mud Hen, which is not the way he envisioned his second season with the Tigers would go.
“Nothing in my career’s been easy for me,” he said. “I’ve gone through adversity a decent amount of times. This is no change. Obviously it was unexpected, but you take it in stride, you go out there and work on your game and you have a good attitude and keep the same personality you’ve always had. That’s what I did down in Triple-A. Those guys are great. I enjoyed playing there. I took it in stride and worked on getting better and hoped to get back up here.”
He rejoined the big-league club this week when Leonys Martin was placed on the 10-day disabled list with a hamstring injury.
After a slow start in Toledo, Mahtook worked his way back up to a .784 OPS over 234 plate appearances.
He had an infield hit on Monday in Toronto and then added three more while batting lead-off on Tuesday. With a lefty on the mound for the Cubs on Wednesday, he’ll be in the lineup again.
“I’m sure that makes him feel better,” said Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire. “It makes me feel better because I like his swing plane. I like the way he went through the ball. That’s going to help us a lot. Today’s a really good start.”