Avila gets a night off before long stretch

Avila gets a night off before long stretch

CHICAGO -- Tigers catcher Alex Avila wasn't in Monday's starting lineup, in part because of White Sox left-hander John Danks' presence on the mound, and also in preparation for the days ahead.

Tigers manager Jim Leyland said Avila, who has dealt with left patella tendinitis this season, will start Detroit's next five or six games, which all come against right-handers. That includes some day games after night games, so Leyland wanted to protect Avila's knee.

"I've got to watch this guy and already he's had something flare up this year, so we're watching it very closely," Leyland said. "He's not hurt, he's not going to be out of the lineup [constantly], but am I going to watch? Obviously, yes I am."

Similar career numbers against Danks for Avila (6-for-14) and backup Gerald Laird (4-for-9) also eased Leyland's decision to start Laird, although Leyland noted Laird would have started anyway because of the upcoming schedule.

Laird went 0-for-2 with a sacrifice fly in the Tigers' 7-5 loss. Avila pinch-hit for Laird in the ninth with two runners on, but grounded out to first to end the game.