DETROIT -- The Tigers' decision to call up catcher Omir Santos from Triple-A Toledo on Wednesday appeared to be a questionable one at the time, given the team's depth at catcher. Now, it seems -- perhaps unfortunately -- that the move has paid off, as Santos was the club's only available catcher on Saturday, and possibly longer.
Gerald Laird tweaked his right hamstring while legging out a ground ball in the sixth inning of Friday night's 9-4 loss to the Yankees, and although he said he's feeling better, Laird won't be available until at least Tuesday.
And Alex Avila -- out of Friday's lineup for precautionary reasons after a foul ball off his facemask on Thursday drew blood and made him woozy -- unexpectedly woke up with tightness in his right hamstring as well.
"I woke up this morning and just didn't feel right," said Avila, who was originally in Saturday's starting lineup, batting sixth and catching. "Coming in today, doing all the normal stuff I do to get ready for the game, I started to do some running and stuff and just couldn't. I was afraid that I was going to really hurt myself. I really won't be any good right now. At least today."
Avila said he had no idea when the injury happened or how he could have hurt himself. He said he's never had issues with the hamstring in his career and said he was feeling completely fine after Friday night's game.
Tigers head athletic trainer Kevin Rand said he even looked at tape of Friday's game and didn't see anything that might have caused the injury. Given the Tigers' recent injury history, there was only one way for Avila to describe the possible cause.
"It is bad luck, basically," Avila said. "Certain teams, a handful of teams, go through it every single year. Right now, we're going through it. It's frustrating because I can't place a time, or when it happened."
Having just received the news, manager Jim Leyland was scrambling to put together a new lineup without Avila during his pregame media session. He settled on Santos batting ninth and behind the plate.
With the numerous injuries plaguing the Tigers, infielder Ramon Santiago was the only positional player available off the bench on Saturday.
"I've never seen it within a week of each other, like five or six guys go down that are on your roster that play a lot," Laird said. "It's definitely frustrating, and the most frustrating part about it is it's coming at a time when we're not playing our best baseball."