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A sometimes-irreverent look at Detroit's Boys of Summer, the Tigers, as they try to defend their three straight American League Central titles.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Alex Avila's return from rehab stint more than just a matter of health; Leyland: 'He's gotta get his swing going'


DETROIT — Call it a difference of motives.

Alex Avila insisted that he felt well enough to play Saturday, before he went out for his rehab stint at Triple-A Toledo, and figured he would not spend any more time than necessary on the disabled list, since he is healthy again.

“I won’t be spending anymore time on the DL,” he said before he left for his rehab assignment. He’s eligible to come off the DL on July 2.

His manager said Tuesday that health is not the only consideration.

“No. He’s gotta get his swing going,” Jim Leyland said.

Avila was on his way to his first three-hit game since his last September when he was hit on the forearm by a pitch on June 16.

But Avila is 0-for-8 in his first two games with the Mud Hens, with two strikeouts and a walk. He is hitting .172 for the season in 48 games with the Tigers, and was hitting .125 in June before his final game in the lineup. His on-base (.271), slugging (.288) and OPS (.560) percentages are the lowest of his career.

When he first went on the DL, he wasn’t looking at the positive side of the move — that it might give him a chance to work out his problems with the bat.

“Anytime you’re on the DL, it’s not a positive. I’d rather be trying to do something on the field to help the team win,” he said. “My goal is to obviously get better, do what I can to continue to get better with the bat in the games I’ll play down there, and get back as soon as can to help the team win.”

How soon that is may be open to interpretation.

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