Avila feels good after first rehab game
Alex Avila started off his three-game rehab assignment with Triple-A Toledo Monday with five innings behind the plate and an 0-for-2 performance at the plate. More importantly, he came through feeling no pain in the right hamstring that forced him onto the 15-day disabled list a couple weeks ago.
“Felt good,” Avila said afterwards. “Just kind of what I expected as far as where I was at physically. Just trying to build up my stamina from not doing anything for a week and a half to catching, running, hitting, throwing, all that kind of stuff. It kind of feels like Spring Training a little bit. The first day, probably a little shocking to the body, but I feel really good.”
Avila nearly homered in his first at-bat in nearly two weeks, driving a ball off Lehigh Valley starter Tyler Cloyd to the warning track in right field, where it was caught. Cloyd struck him out swinging in the third inning.
“Saw some pitches, had some pretty decent swings, and I feel pretty good,” Avila said. “A couple more days of good at-bats and I’ll be ready to go.”
Behind the plate, he caught a rough start for lefty Andy Oliver, who gave up four runs on seven hits over six innings. Much of the damage came in the first three frames, including a ball that sailed to the backstop with nobody on.
It left him on his toes, but not moving wildly.
“If you remember right, he re-aggravated the injury [two weeks ago] kind of blocking a ball and moving around the plate. Fortunately, Andy threw a few wide ones and he was able to do that today,” Mud Hens manager Phil Nevin said. “But he looked fine. He didn’t feel any pain, any weakness.”
Avila is scheduled to play five innings again for the Hens on Tuesday, then serve as the designated hitter on Wednesday. If he gets through that OK, the Tigers will activate him from the DL on Thursday in time to catch that afternoon’s game against the Cardinals.
“I knew coming into today from what I was doing in Detroit that my hamstring was good,” Avila said, “and I just wanted to make sure I could get it to where I could go 100 percent not thinking about it. The reason why I’m here early is because I could get to that point. Now it’s just kind of getting to a nice rhythm at the plate and seeing some pitches, taking some balls off the chest, building up some bruises and stuff like that. That’s what these games are going to be about.”
He’ll be catching Jacob Turner, who will be coming up from Toledo as well to make the start for the Tigers.