Avila's knee sore after near collision in Game 3

Avila's knee sore after near collision in Game 3

DETROIT -- Alex Avila described his knee injury as a tweak. Jim Leyland described it as a sore patella (kneecap). Some wondered if it was something worse.

In the end, though, he's a starting catcher. As much as he went through in the regular season, Avila wasn't going to miss Game 4 of the American League Division Series at Comerica Park.

"Minor injuries happen to everybody," Avila said before batting practice Tuesday. "Whether I was injured badly or not, I'm not really coming out of the game anyway, so it doesn't matter."

Avila said he tweaked the knee when he stepped on Robinson Cano's foot, which found its way into Avila's path after Alex Rodriguez threw wildly to first on Avila's sixth-inning sacrifice bunt during Game 3. He was hobbling around the dugout, which caused a moment of panic among Tigers fans when TBS caught the footage.

But as always, when Justin Verlander took the mound for the seventh inning, Avila was back behind the plate. And there was no question he'd be back behind the plate Tuesday night.

"Just a little twist," Avila said, "and you just deal with it. At this point in the season, I think everybody's dealing with injuries. So nothing major."

It would have to be something beyond major to get him out, even for the end of a game. Victor Martinez has not caught since spraining his left knee in early August, and the Tigers' backup catcher is Omir Santos, the former Yankees farmhand who spent almost the entire season at Triple-A Toledo.

Manager Jim Leyland said Avila tweaked an injury he's had for a while now.

"His patella is sore. That's all," Leyland said. "That's from trying to hit the ground to crash and block balls and stuff. He's fine."

Or as Leyland later put it, "It's nothing that a double, a single and two RBIs wouldn't heal up real quick."