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Avila puts in 5 solid innings in 1st rehab start

Recovering from knee injury, Tigers catcher notches single, saves run at plate

DETROIT -- Tigers catcher Alex Avila went 1-for-3 with a single for Triple-A Toledo on Friday night in his first competitive appearance since being placed on the disabled list on May 8.

Perhaps more importantly, he stayed behind the plate for five innings before being pulled, as scheduled. Avila wasn't challenged with any bunts, but he applied a run-saving tag on an assist from left fielder Tyler Collins in the fifth. The MudHens lost, 5-4, to Norfolk.

Avila, who is recovering from a loose body in his left knee, also went 1-for-3 at the plate. Though he popped out in the second inning with two runners on base, he singled to right field in the fourth.

In the sixth inning, he was at the plate for a wild pitch that scored a runner from third. He then struck out swinging on a 2-2 fastball.

According to Tigers manager Brad Ausmus, Avila will DH on Saturday; catch five innings on Sunday; DH on Monday; catch seven innings on Tuesday; DH on Wednesday; catch seven innings on Thursday; and catch 5-7 innings on Friday. If there are no setbacks, the club could decide to activate him for its series against Toronto from July 3-5.

Avila has batted .200 in 22 Major League games this year, although he played through pain for many of them. Ausmus has spoken highly of the catcher's benefits as both a veteran backstop and as a left-handed bat.

Alejandro Zúñiga is an associate reporter for Follow him on Twitter @ByAZuniga.
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