Avila to be activated from DL on Tuesday
Any lingering question about whether Alex Avila would return from the disabled list on Tuesday when he becomes eligible to be activated was answered after Monday’s game, when Jim Leyland said Avila is coming back.
Not only will Avila be activated, he’ll be in the Tigers lineup Tuesday night against Blue Jays right-hander Chien-Ming Wang. According to Leyland, he’ll resume his previous role as the Tigers’ No. 1 catcher from there.
Bryan Holaday, who backed up Pena while Avila was out, was optioned back to Triple-A Toledo to make room.
“We’re back in a situation where Alex is our catcher, Pena is our backup and that’s what our thought process was all along,” Leyland said.
It does not sound like it was simply a matter of Avila being healthy. They wanted to see him hit, and they saw enough out of his rehab assignment to encourage them.
Avila’s return was in some question after back-to-back hitless games began his rehab assignment at Triple-A Toledo. He’s 8-for-25 since, with back-to-back two-hit games and three in his last five contests. He had two doubles and a home run in that stretch, though his last four hits were all singles.
Avila went on the DL two weeks ago with a right forearm contusion. That healed up within a week, but the Tigers weren’t going to go short a catcher that long (no, Victor Martinez doesn’t count). With the arm all right and time to use before he could return, Avila joined the Mud Hens and worked with hitting coach Leon Durham.
“He worked with Bull every day,” Leyland said. “Sometimes you saw results in a game, sometimes you didn’t, but that’s one of those things. You don’t work with somebody one day and then all of a sudden they turn into Ted Williams. It doesn’t work like that. You have to be repetitive with it, you have to stay with it, you have to believe in it.
“But they were seeing some results, and we were tickled with that, and so we’re going to get him back up here. And Pena’s done a very good job in his absence.”