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Avila sprains jaw in collision with Fielder

Avila sprains jaw in collision with Fielder

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Avila sprains jaw in collision with Fielder
CLEVELAND -- Alex Avila had already taken his share of bumps and bruises all week on the Tigers' road trip. A collision with Prince Fielder chasing a foul ball in front of the Tigers dugout was something he couldn't shake off, forcing him out of Detroit's series finale against the Indians at Progressive Field.

He was listed as day-to-day with what manager Jim Leyland called a sprained jaw, and the Tigers said he did not show concussion symptoms. The sprain makes it difficult for him to open his mouth.

"There's no breaks or anything, no concussion or anything, it didn't appear to be," Leyland said.

The sixth-inning collision happened when both Avila and Fielder were chasing a Carlos Santana pop-up into foul territory. Though the ball took them right in front of the Tigers dugout, where they were seemingly getting warned, both players kept chasing the ball.

Neither got the ball, which bounced off a glove and hit the ground. However, Fielder's right arm hit Avila in the side of his head. Avila fell over and stayed down, clearly dazed as Tigers athletic trainer Kevin Rand ran out from the dugout to attend to him.

"It looked like a knockout punch," Leyland said. "It look like [Fielder's] elbow got him in the jaw."

Avila stayed on the ground for several minutes before Rand helped him up and led him into the clubhouse. Catcher Gerald Laird replaced him.

Avila was already dealing with a bruised left hand suffered on a foul tip Wednesday in Chicago.

The Tigers were already expected to start Laird on Monday against White Sox left-hander Jose Quintana, but Leyland said he had previously considered giving Avila the start based on matchups. Now, he'll most likely not play.

"He probably will not play tomorrow," Leyland said, "although the trainer said he probably will be able to play tomorrow. So we'll see how that works out."

The question is whether one day will be enough of a rest for Avila, depending on the symptoms. Detroit brought back rookie catcher Bryan Holaday from Triple-A Toledo on Sept. 1 as an extra backup in case of situations like these.

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.

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