Avila placed on 15-day DL with loose body in left knee

Turns out the bruised right forearm that forced a lineup change Friday was the lesser of Alex Avila’s concerns. An MRI on his left knee, which had been bothering him for weeks, revealed a loose body, likely a bone chip.

The Tigers placed Avila on the 15-day disabled list Saturday morning and recalled Bryan Holaday, who had the game-winning hit for Triple-A Toledo Friday night.

Avila was seeking a second opinion Saturday morning, but some sort of procedure is expected to remove what is most likely a bone fragment in his knee. A typical timetable for return would be six weeks.

“My expectation and my hope would be to be back and ready to go, good as new, for the second half [of the season],” Avila said. “That would be my hope, and I think that’s a pretty realistic possibility.”

While Avila’s forearm bruise came from a foul tip Thursday against the White Sox in Chicago, his knee had been bothering him for several weeks. He had played through it, but decided to have it checked out after being scratched Friday. An MRI exam revealed the damage.

“It’s been pretty painful for a while, for the past few weeks,” Avila said. “Some days it’s been difficult just to walk around and stuff like that, so I knew it was probably something a little more serious and basically I’ve been playing with it – some days I’m not sure how – but according to the doctor, it wouldn’t be smart. I could probably do some more damage, so we’re going to take care of it.”

Avila has had a minor history with that knee, dating back to tendinitis in 2012, but no surgeries (correction from previous entry). This doesn’t seem to be related, and Avila said he can’t think of a specific injury to the knee earlier this year.

“Alex is a tough kid,” manager Brad Ausmus said. “I really didn’t know anything about it until yesterday during the game.”

With Avila out, rookie James McCann will get the majority of the starts behind the plate, Ausmus confirmed. McCann, potentially the Tigers’ regular catcher of the future, has spent the season as Avila’s understudy, learning in the big leagues while getting select starts.

Holaday, who backed up Avila throughout last season, batted .230 (14-for-61) with the Mud Hens with three doubles, a home run and nine RBIs.

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