The Yankees included Austin Jackson in a package for Curtis Granderson last December because they loved Granderson, and because they weren't quite sure what Jackson would turn out to be.

We all know not to throw a party over one month of major-league work. Yet Jackson, 23, used April to display his potential, and it's pretty darn impressive. Entering yesterday's action, the centerfielder led the American League with 36 hits, compiling a .422 on-base percentage and .495 slugging percentage, while stealing five bases in six attempts and playing good defense, as well.

"We thought he would be ready to play," Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski said, in a telephone interview. "We knew defensively, he would be fine. His instincts, he's very good defensively. He's good on the base paths. We knew he had good athleticism.

"I think the offensive part of it is the one that, right now, he has done very well, probably compared to what you would expect at this time."

The Tigers' Bronx influx of Jackson (who also led the AL with 32 strikeouts) and Johnny Damon has lengthened Detroit's lineup considerably. The Tigers are scoring runs like it's going out of style.

Damon's production ranks as less of a surprise, however, and the Tigers control him just for this season. If Jackson can continue to provide this sort of value, even with an expected drop-off, then he could be a huge trade acquisition for Detroit. Jackson wouldn't start making big money, through the arbitration process, until 2013.

The next step, Dombrowski said, would be developing power in his swing. Said Dombrowski: "You see the power there. You know it's in there . . . he has the potential to hit more home runs as time goes on."

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