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Alex Avila playing third base tonight for first time since college

Jun 17, 2011, 5:09 PM EDT


Without the designated hitter spot at his disposal Tigers manager Jim Leyland is getting creative for interleague play tonight by starting catcher Alex Avila at third base, where he hasn’t played a single inning since college.

Detroit’s regular third baseman, Brandon Inge, is on the disabled list, and playing Avila out of position allows Victor Martinez to get into the lineup at catcher.

Despite seeing zero action at third base in the majors or minors Avila seems pretty comfortable with the move, telling Ted Kulfan of the Detroit News: “It won’t be anything new for me. Just go out there and see what happens.”

It probably won’t be pretty–and I’m curious why Leyland wouldn’t just play Miguel Cabrera at third base, where he has plenty of experience–but Avila has been a damn good catcher this year, throwing out 40 percent of steal attempts, and it’s easy to see why Leyland would be willing to sacrifice defense to keep his bat in the lineup with a .304 average and .916 OPS through 58 games.

  1. trevorb06 - Jun 17, 2011 at 5:28 PM

    I’m probably somehow wrong, I mean I don’t make mega bucks as a manager, but wouldn’t it make more sense to play Miggy at 3rd, V-mart at 1st and keep Avila as the catcher?

    • jimbo1949 - Jun 17, 2011 at 5:54 PM

      What? You’re questioning the managerial wisdom of the Mighty Managerial Brain known as Jim Leyland?
      Me too, brain fart I guess.

    • baseballisboring - Jun 17, 2011 at 6:09 PM

      well, seems like he wants to give Avila a day off from catching…but you’d think putting Miggy at 3rd and Avila at 1st would be easier, wouldn’t it?

  2. sknut - Jun 17, 2011 at 5:48 PM

    Its a bit odd that managers making these calls especially with lower scoring games where a mis-play can cost their team a run(s).

  3. jimtron11 - Jun 17, 2011 at 5:59 PM

    I too figured the Tigers would just move Cabrera to third base and slide V-Mart to 1B in order to keep Avila behind the dish during interleague play. It’s hard to say why Leyland wouldn’t do just that, but it’s possible Cabby was unwilling to make the switch, or perhaps the Tigers waited in vain for him to volunteer to do so. After all, alcoholics are nothing if not selfish and it’s pretty clear Cabrera is a drunkard.

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