Tigers activate Avila from disabled list
Alex Avila is back after more than two weeks on the disabled list with concussion symptoms. The Tigers activated their catcher from the 15-day DL on Tuesday, returning him to big-league action for the first time since Aug. 10.
Avila was sidelined from work for a week and a half due to recurrent headaches following a foul tip off his mask in an Aug. 8 game at Cleveland. Initial tests did not show a concussion, and team doctors cleared him the next day to rejoin the team. He returned behind the plate Aug. 10 at Yankee Stadium, but his headaches returned with nausea the next day.
The team placed him on the seven-day concussion DL that afternoon and sent Avila home for rest. He was seen around the home clubhouse at Comerica Park for much of the next homestand, but was limited to off-field workouts for several days until being cleared for baseball activity last week.
Avila joined Triple-A Toledo on a rehab assignment last week. He caught just three innings last Thursday before reporting more headaches. After returning to the Mud Hens lineup for a game at designated hitter last Saturday, he spent the last two days catching seven innings apiece without any trouble.
By rule, players on the 7-day DL are limited to five days on a rehab assignment. Since Avila was sidelined for more than two weeks, however, he was automatically transferred to the 15-day DL, which carries different rules.
Avila has not talked about his situation since going on the DL. In silence, though, he has become one of the faces of a leaguewide concern regarding catchers and concussions. He was the seventh of eight Major League catchers to land on the concussion DL this season, a list that includes AL Central counterparts Salvador Perez of Kansas City and Minnesota’s Joe Mauer and Ryan Doumit.
Avila draws more concern than many catchers around the league because he seems to take so many foul tips off his body. He is expected to return with a different, heavier mask designed to reduce some of the impact from foul tips.
To make room for Avila, the Tigers optioned catcher Bryan Holaday to Toledo. He’ll rejoin the Tigers next Tuesday after the Mud Hens season ends.