Avila headed out on Triple-A rehab assignment

Avila headed out on Triple-A rehab assignment

ANAHEIM -- Alex Avila left for Triple-A Charlotte on Sunday afternoon to begin an injury rehab assignment with the Knights.

The White Sox catcher was placed on the disabled list July 6 with a right hamstring strain, and he hopes to return Thursday against the Tigers, facing his former team at the start of a five-game homestand at U.S. Cellular Field. This stint on the disabled list marks Avila's second this season, for the same injury.

"I actually feel better at this point, as far as time frame, than I did last time," Avila said. "I've been running, caught some [bullpen sessions], been hitting for the last couple of days. It has felt good, to where I feel like playing games would be the next step."

Dioner Navarro has caught every game in Avila's absence, and entered Sunday hitless in his last 20 at-bats. Even with the four-day All-Star break, Navarro looks as if a brief rest was needed.

So White Sox manager Robin Ventura gave Omar Narvaez his Major League debut for Sunday's series finale in Anaheim.

"Omar, even in Spring Training, is a good catch-and-release guy. He calls a good game, catches a good game," Ventura said. "Offensively we'll see what happens."

After a slow start, Avila started to turn things around offensively via a .288 June average to go with three home runs and a .373 on-base percentage. The left-handed hitter hopes to regain that form after playing three games for the Knights.

"I was hitting the ball well, having good at-bats," said Avila, who was 2-for-9 with six walks in July before the injury. "I was feeling pretty good for that last month and a half up to the break.

"It will be important for me to get a few at-bats. I haven't seen live pitching in a while, so I'm going to try and get back in that rhythm as quickly as possible."

Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin, on Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.