Avila leaves game after foul tip off mask/nose
The Tigers, who have battled a rash of injuries over the last two weeks, had another from an unexpected player. Catcher Alex Avila left Thursday’s series finale against the Red Sox after taking a third-inning foul tip hard off his catching mask that busted up his nose.
Avila was pulled from the game for precautionary reasons, the Tigers announced later. An examination from doctors revealed no symptoms of a concussion.
Avila is known for taking a slew of foul tips and pitches off his body and enduring, earning him a reputation as one of the toughest catchers in the Majors. That toughness allowed him to catch 133 games last year, making him a fixture down the stretch after his backup, Victor Martinez, suffered a knee injury.
That said, Avila was clearly rattled when Ryan Sweeney fouled off a 96 mph fastball from Max Scherzer went up off Sweeney’s bat and into Avila’s mask before rolling.
Head athletic trainer Kevin Rand immediately attended to Avila as manager Jim Leyland joined him out from the dugout. A broadcast replay caught blood streaming down from Avila’s nose as Rand attended to him.
After a lengthy discussion, Avila walked off the field on his own power, with Rand and Leyland joining him. Avila’s backup, Gerald Laird, replaced him behind the plate.
Ironically, the Tigers called up a third catcher, Omir Santos, on Wednesday. He was brought up to allow Leyland to use one of his other catchers at designated hitter without worrying about what to do if his other catcher was injured. He didn’t envision this kind of scenario.