Avila leaves game, likely headed to DL
Alex Avila’s return behind the plate was supposed to be the best news on the Tigers’ injury front. It lasted just five innings before his right hamstring tightened up again.
Now, the Tigers and Avila await the results of an MRI exam. Judging from a report out of Toledo from the Toledo Blade’s John Wagner late Tuesday night that Bryan Holaday is being called up, a report that another source confirmed, a stint on the disabled list appears to be imminent.
“I checked with him before the game,” Leyland said. “I try not to play guys if I’m suspicious. Maybe in the back of my mind I was a little bit suspicious, but when he came in here today I said ‘How are you doing?’ and he said, ‘I better be in the lineup,’ and I said, ‘Well, you’re in the lineup.’
“We found out it was probably a mistake on my part. If you want to blame somebody, blame me for that.”
Avila missed the previous two games over the weekend against the Yankees after waking up Saturday morning with a tight hamstring. He spent Monday’s off-day receiving treatment on the injury at Comerica Park and said he was ready to go.
One big reason Avila sat over the weekend was the worry that playing and tweaking the hamstring would cause a worse injury and a longer absence. This was pretty much the scenario that played out.
“I was hoping that, with the way I was feeling and the work I was doing, that I was going to be able to play, maybe not at 100 percent but enough to be fine,” Avila said. “It just wasn’t the case. Just got to figure it out.”
Avila threw out Shin-Soo Choo trying to advance to second on a pitch in the dirt to end the fifth inning, but was seen hobbling as he made his way back in the dugout. He promptly went down the tunnel towards the clubhouse.
Realistically, though, Avila said he’d been dealing with the tightness for most of the game.
“It was pretty tight, probably from the second inning on,” Avila said. “I started feeling it. It never really got loose. On that [throw], I really felt it pull and figured that right about there, I couldn’t really push it anymore.”
Gerald Laird, who also missed the previous two games with a tight right hamstring, replaced Avila to begin the sixth inning. The Tigers still have Omir Santos on the roster, so they’re not in an emergency scenario.
Still, they’re in a tough enough situation that Laird was trotting gingerly around the bases when he reached in the ninth inning.
“I just wanted to make sure I’m about it,” Laird said, pointing out that he wasn’t the potential tying run.
Holaday’s call-up will trigger a shuffle of the Tigers’ catching prospects, with highly-valued catching prospect Rob Brantly heading to Toledo. James McCann, last year’s top Tigers draft pick, is expected to take over at Erie after being called up from Class A Lakeland.