Avila given day off amid hitting slump

Avila given day off amid hitting slump

SEATTLE -- Tigers manager Jim Leyland didn't mince words when talking about Alex Avila's recent hitting.

"He's struggling," Leyland said. "He hit early today. We'll see if he can get him going."

The first step Leyland took, though, was to get Avila out for a day. Brayan Pena started behind the plate Wednesday night to catch Max Scherzer and try to hit Felix Hernandez.

Avila took early batting practice Wednesday afternoon, but said it wasn't a matter of trying adjustments amid a 1-for-15 slump. He feels like he has a good approach at the plate but isn't getting the results.

The aggressiveness Avila showed at the plate early in the season is still there at times, Leyland said.

Avila will be back in action Thursday afternoon, catching Justin Verlander for the first time since Opening Day. Avila struck out three times Tuesday night, falling into 0-2 counts twice against Seattle relievers.

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.