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Avila finding groove on rehab assignment

DETROIT -- After going 0-for-8 in his first two games at Triple-A Toledo, catcher Alex Avila is finally starting to heat up at the plate in his minor-league rehab assignment.

Avila, who joined the Mud Hens on rehab on Monday, hit a pair of doubles Wednesday in a 5-4 loss at Pawtucket. One was an RBI liner to right in the fourth inning, the other was a fly ball to center in the sixth, both off Red Sox farmhand Steven Wright. Avila took a called third strike in the seventh.

The doubles raised Avila's numbers to 3-for-16 with five strikeouts in four games, three of them as a designated hitter. Considering manager Jim Leyland said earlier in the week that Avila's hitting will be as important as his health during his rehab, it's a step in the right direction.

Avila will have at least a few more games through the end of the week before he's eligible to come off the disabled list on Tuesday.

Jason Beck is a reporter for Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason.
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