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Struggling Avila is slated for a few off-days

Struggling Avila is slated for a few off-days

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KANSAS CITY -- Tigers catcher Alex Avila will have the next few days off, though it'll be more a matter of the matchups with opposing pitchers than about his slump at the plate. Still, the numbers suggest that his hitting adjustments are a work in progress.

Avila entered Wednesday's series finale against the Royals in an 0-for-13 skid. He started Detroit's last four games and went hitless in all of them. He had an 0-for-17 slump last month that prompted manager Jim Leyland to alternate starts behind the plate with Brayan Pena to try to get Avila going.

Avila had better results for an eight-game stretch, going 6-for-24 (.250) with a double, home run, two RBIs and five walks.

Leyland paused when asked if he's seeing better at-bats from Avila during this stretch than he had in his previous slump.

"On occasion," Leyland said, "but not with consistency."

With right-handed hitters having more success off Royals ace James Shields than left-handed batters, Pena started at catcher on Wednesday. He'll also start Friday night in Minnesota against lefty Scott Diamond.

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.

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