Banged-up Avila gets break from starting lineup

Banged-up Avila gets break from starting lineup

Banged-up Avila gets break from starting lineup
DETROIT -- Tigers catcher Alex Avila got a scheduled day off Thursday, and manager Jim Leyland said Avila will likely get another break in the upcoming Royals series as they try to keep him fresh for a second-half run.

"He's sore. He's beat up," Leyland said. "He got hit on the inside of the leg the other night. He had a little pulled muscle reaching up for one of those intentional walk throws that [Brayan] Villarreal threw [Tuesday]."

Those are just the minor issues. Avila has also suffered through hamstring and knee injuries this season, so the All-Star break might be a blessing in disguise for the Tigers' backstop.

For outfielder Andy Dirks, he's still not close to returning from dealing with lingering right Achilles tendinitis, Leyland said. The skipper was asked if he was being told Dirks would be back with the team after the break and quickly responded with a "No."

"We got a little better news on Dirks, but I don't know when that's going to happen," Leyland said. "He's going to have to go out and play a while, he's been out a long time. He's going to have to go out and get some at-bats, but I don't even know when that's going to be."

Right-hander Max Scherzer, who missed his scheduled start Tuesday with a minor left hamstring strain, is still on schedule to make his start Sunday against Kansas City.