Avila out on paternity leave, could return Saturday

Tigers catcher's wife gives birth to a baby girl

Avila out on paternity leave, could return Saturday

SARASOTA, Fla. -- Alex Avila will be out of action for the Tigers for the next few days. It has nothing to do with the tight back that bothered him last week or the concussion issues that have followed him the past few years.

Instead, he's going on paternity leave. Avila headed out to be with his wife, Kristina, at their home in South Florida for the birth of their second child, a baby girl named Zoey who arrived at 12:18 p.m. ET on Wednesday.

"If everything goes according to plan, he'll be back and play Saturday," manager Brad Ausmus said.

Fittingly, that would put Avila back in camp in time to catch Justin Verlander's first start of the spring Saturday against the Braves at Champion Stadium in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.

Until then, Bryan Holaday and rookie James McCann -- both vying for the backup job behind Avila -- are expected to get the starts, with several Minor Leaguers available for depth.

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.