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Laird starts behind plate as slumping Avila sits

Laird starts behind plate as slumping Avila sits

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Laird starts behind plate as slumping Avila sits
NEW YORK -- Tigers manager Jim Leyland played the matchups Sunday in giving Alex Avila a day off in favor of Gerald Laird against CC Sabathia. But it also came amidst a stretch Avila would probably like to forget, let alone end.

Though Avila had a single against Freddy Garcia on Saturday and homered off Seattle lefty Jason Vargas on Tuesday, he entered Sunday 5-for-38 over the last two weeks, with 12 strikeouts in 11 games. The skid has lowered his batting average from .364 to .220.

Avila will get a chance to break out of it this upcoming week against the Royals. He's 6-for-20 lifetime with a double and a home run against Luke Hochevar, who starts Monday night's series opener at Comerica Park, even though Avila batted just .231 off Royals pitching last year and went 1-for-8 with five strikeouts in two games at Kansas City earlier this month.

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