DETROIT -- Alex Avila had his catching gear on, his cell phone handy and his car gassed up as he took his usual spot behind home plate Saturday. With his wife, Kristina, ready to go into labor any day now with their first child, the Tigers catcher is on call.
"The keys [to the car] are right here," Avila said, looking to the shelf above his clubhouse locker. "I might not even change."
Originally, the due date was next Wednesday, the day before the Tigers embark on a three-city West Coast trip. However, the couple agreed that inducing labor might be the only way to guarantee the catcher's around for the birth.
So together, the two went to the hospital after Friday's game and stayed overnight. Alex returned to Comerica Park Saturday morning, but he might not be around for long if he gets the call.
Once Kristina Avila is ready, doctors will most likely induce labor, potentially as soon as Saturday evening.
Alex Avila is already off Sunday. With lefty CC Sabathia on the mound for the Yankees, Brayan Pena will get the start behind the plate for his Tigers debut. Detroit has an off-day Monday.
If Avila isn't available Sunday, Don Kelly will most likely be the backup catcher. He has his catching mitt ready, but said he might have to borrow a helmet and pads from Avila.
Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.