Avila still bothered by discomfort in knee

Avila still bothered by discomfort in knee

PITTSBURGH -- In three games since returning from the disabled list, Detroit catcher Alex Avila has one hit and three strikeouts in 10 at-bats.

Not the best start for a guy manager Jim Leyland said the Tigers are relying on to hit the ball.

"I think that he's come back a little bit sluggish," Leyland said. "I think it does take a few days to get back into sync of this caliber [of] pitching. And I say sluggish, I'm talking about sluggish, offensively. I think the knee barks once in a while yet. But I think he'll be fine."

An aggravated hamstring strain sent Avila to the DL on June 6, but his left knee is something that has bothered him for a while. He started playing again Thursday against St. Louis, which was also when he got his last hit.

In eight plate appearances against the Pirates entering Sunday's finale, Avila had two strikeouts and two walks.

"We need him to hit," Leyland said. "He's a good hitter. I don't know if this knee thing bothers him a little bit. Occasionally at the plate, he says it bothers him. You know, it flares up a little bit now and then.

"But, he did just come off 15 days of rest."