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A sometimes-irreverent look at Detroit's Boys of Summer, the Tigers, as they try to return to the top of the American League Central.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Tigers recall Avila, send Holaday down

It was really a binary operation to get Alex Avila back from the disabled list.

If Gerald Laird’s hamstring, which cramped up badly enough to take him out of Wednesday’s game, was healthy, he’d stay and back up Avila, while rookie Bryan Holaday would go back to the minors.

If not, Holaday would stay, and Laird would be headed to the DL.

“We’re just trying to let cooler heads prevail right now and see what happens in the morning. You know, not make any rash decisions. You’re not talking about an outfielder or an infielder, where you’ve got another outfielder or infielder,” manager Jim Leyland said, when the Tigers deferred the decision to Thursday morning. “You don’t have another (backup) catcher, so there’s not much lenience there as far as what you have to do.”

Laird said he was fine Thursday morning — “It feels better,” he said, “but I can still feel a knot in there” — so it was Option B.

Avila returned, Laird stayed, and Holaday went down.

“You always want to go in the game with all your bullets if you can,” Leyland said. “Gerald has done a great job. We’ve played pretty good in (Avila’s) absence. Gerald has done a great job of filling in. Got some hits. He’s done a great job with the staff and that’s what he’s here for. He did what he’s here for.”

For the Tigers, Holaday’s 13-game stint with the big club as a good opportunity to get a look at one of the most advanced of their glut of young catchers.

“I like him a lot,” Leyland said. “He can catch and throw with ’em right now. He still has to get some experience with the bat. But he can catch and throw right now. ... If he can’t hit, he’s a backup, if he hits, he’s probably a regular at some point.”

For Holaday, he treated it as a learning experience, picking the brains of Laird and Avila, getting pointers on how to handle a pitching staff, as well as the big leagues themselves.

But he wasn’t shocked that he was here this season, at all.

“Absolutely. I think you’ve gotta be optimistic about your future. I think you have to have a little bit of that in you, because that’s what drives you, makes you work hard to get here. Now I’ve gotta set my mind on coming back,” Holaday said. “When you get to be in this environment, play at this level, it definitely makes you want to get back as quick as you can.”

Holaday may also want to come back, just so he can find something that has been ... misplaced.

He got his first big-league hit — a line-drive single to left off the Indians’ Jeanmar Gomez — in the fifth inning of his MLB debut on June 6, but hasn’t been given the ball by his teammates yet.

“It’s still floating around. I haven’t landed on it yet,” Holaday said.


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