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Alex Avila keeps playing despite knee injury and .061 average

Oct 13, 2011, 12:46 PM EDT

Detroit Tigers' Alex Avila avoids a pitch thrown by Texas Rangers Yoshinori Tateyama during the eighth inning of Game 3 of the MLB American League Championship Series baseball playoffs in Detroit

Alex Avila has been behind the plate for every Tigers playoff game despite injuring his knee stepping on Robinson Cano‘s foot in Game 3 of the ALDS, but his limp has becoming increasingly obvious of late and his production at the plate has been non-existent.

Avila hit .295 with 19 homers and an .895 OPS during the regular season, but is just 2-for-33 (.061) with 14 strikeouts in nine playoff games and manager Jim Leyland demoted him to the No. 8 spot in the lineup for today’s must-win Game 5.

Avila has downplayed the severity of the injury, but Leyland admitted to Jason Beck of MLB.com that “Alex is banged up pretty good” and there’s been plenty of speculation that he’s playing through something significant because Victor Martinez is unable to catch due to his own knee problems and Leyland certainly doesn’t want Omir Santos in the lineup.

  1. yankeesfanlen - Oct 13, 2011 at 12:57 PM

    Third consecutive “pile on the Tigers” post within 45 minutes! They really have replaced the Universe! Rain heading toward Motown.

  2. leylandhater - Oct 13, 2011 at 12:57 PM

    Excuses and more excuses. That’s all that wind bag Leyland can offer at this point. Easily a one time All Star catcher.

    • lukeslice - Oct 13, 2011 at 1:10 PM

      hater you should join Sox Nation, that’s the only place your extreme pessimism fits. leyland hasn’t screwed the tigers. the only explanation i have for your jabberings are that you’re trying to reverse jinx everything…?

  3. Kyle - Oct 13, 2011 at 2:12 PM

    Hoping he snaps out of it. Would hate to see his amazing season overshadowed by these 30-40 ABs.

  4. Brian Donohue - Oct 13, 2011 at 3:02 PM

    Most pundits have dubbed this baseball year as the Year of the Pitcher; I’d choose another name: The Year of the Hurt. The collapse of the Braves and the Sawx was far more about injuries than beer in the clubhouse. Yanx and Giants obviously had their share of critical injuries to key components (A-Rod for most of the season, multiple problems; 2 or 3 pitchers; and with the Giants the obvious, Posey, but also pitchers like Sanchez); and the Phillies were a MASH unit toward the end, several of them going straight to the O.R. after their exit from the post season. The Pirates did most of their early-season magic with ten or a dozen guys on the DL. And part of the reason the Cards and Rangers are playing well now is that they finally got healthy at just the right time. I just think it’s a story that’s yet to be written and deserves an overview as the post-season concludes.

  5. dracko19 - Oct 13, 2011 at 7:29 PM

    He can’t transfer his weight due to the knee issues. The best he can do is go the other way. Francona said he looked like he was “beaten down and limping” in the hotel lobby. He did hit an opposite field HR today. Gutsy guy!

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