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Slumping Avila gets night off against tough lefty

Slumping Avila gets night off against tough lefty

Slumping Avila gets night off against tough lefty
DETROIT -- Three weeks ago, Alex Avila was enjoying his best tear of the season, an 11-game hitting streak in which he was batting .457 (16-for-35) with eight RBIs.

In 15 games since, he's 5-for-45 with 17 strikeouts, including a current 0-for-11 streak. Such are the ups and downs of baseball.

Avila has caught Justin Verlander for 20 of his 27 starts this season, including nine out of his previous 10. With left-hander Chris Sale on the mound and a day game on Monday, however, Avila was off Sunday night in favor of Gerald Laird.

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Avila spent some of the time getting some extra hitting work, trying to get his timing back. His knees, he said, are fine despite some awkward swings Saturday night against White Sox lefty Francisco Liriano.

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