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Laird making progress at the plate

Laird making progress at the plate

Laird making progress at the plate
OAKLAND -- The last time Gerald Laird was a Tiger, he lost his role in a catching timeshare with Alex Avila because he didn't hit enough. Now, his bat might actually be making it easier for manager Jim Leyland to play him as Avila's backup.

Though Laird didn't start on Saturday against his former Texas teammate, Brandon McCarthy, he started three of the previous four games in Avila's place, going 3-for-11 in the process and actually lowering his batting average to .300.

Laird scored the first of Detroit's four runs on Friday, reaching base on a Brandon Inge error in the third inning before scoring on a Miguel Cabrera single. He hit an opposite-field single on an 0-2 pitch in the fourth.

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"I just think he's a little more comfortable," Leyland said Saturday. "For one thing, he's laid off high fastballs. He's done a pretty good job of being more selective and getting into strike counts."

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