Avila to return from paternity leave Saturday

Avila to return from paternity leave Saturday

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Alex Avila will return from paternity leave on Saturday when the Tigers face the Braves in Lake Buena Vista.

Avila, whose wife, Kristina, gave birth to their second child, Zoey, on Wednesday afternoon in South Florida, will catch Justin Verlander's first spring start.

In the Grapefruit League opener, Avila went 0-for-1 with two runs, a walk, a hit by pitch and a strikeout on Tuesday against the Orioles. He caught four innings behind the plate.

Backup Bryan Holaday has started two of the three games in Avila's place. James McCann, the Tigers' ninth-ranked prospect according to MLB.com, caught the other.

"Alex will play tomorrow," manager Brad Ausmus said. "He's coming back tonight, so he's in the lineup tomorrow."

Christina De Nicola is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.