DETROIT -- After all the bumps and bruises Alex Avila has taken behind the plate this year, he still gets new ones every once in a while. The giant bruise on his chest fit the category.
"I got hit right in the chest. I've never been hit there before," Avila said. "There's a first for everything."
That one came from a foul tip late in Saturday's walk-off win over the Twins. It hit off his chest protector and still did some damage. That was completely separate from the foul tip off his mask early in the game that left him needing a few seconds to recover.
"Taking it off the face is pretty normal," Avila said. "Getting it off the chest, that one hurt a little bit. You normally don't get it off the chest, and it's kind of shocking."
He had Sunday to recover, thanks to his first game out of the lineup since Aug. 25. Manager Jim Leyland had already planned on that being his day off for almost a week, knowing Omir Santos would be up with rosters expanded and the season over at Triple-A Toledo. Saturday's damage simply made it more timely.
Only Arizona's Miguel Montero and Florida's John Buck entered Sunday with more starts than Avila among Major League catchers, and the margin is only by a game (118-117). Nobody keeps track of foul tips and balls hit off a catcher, but Leyland has his own views on that level for his young catcher.
"I've never seen anybody get hit like that, like he does," Leyland said. "He needs a blow for sure. He's getting that today."
Leyland has theories on why that may be.
"I think some of it has to do with the stuff," Leyland said. "Sometimes when a guy's throwing 95-96 [mph] like [Max] Scherzer was [Saturday], sometimes they foul off those pitches and they go straight back and whack him. I think it's got something to do with that."