Avila day to day, exits with lightheadedness

Avila day to day, exits with lightheadedness

DETROIT -- While the Tigers have momentum in the American League Central once again, they face lingering questions about whether they have their catcher. A week after Alex Avila returned from concussion symptoms, he left Sunday's 6-4 win over the Indians with what the team classified as lightheadedness.

The classification might be different, but the Tigers are treating it with the same level of concern. He's considered day to day, but manager Brad Ausmus said, "There's a very good chance he won't be in there tomorrow."

The Tigers open a three-game series in Minnesota on Monday night.

Avila seemed dazed for a second after a forearm to the head on a pickoff tag in the second inning. He also took a foul tip off his mask. Neither play, however, was severe enough to prompt attention from the Tigers' staff.

"He took one off the mask earlier in the day, but at the time, he didn't show the reaction that is normally associated with someone that's been concussed," Ausmus said. "He kind of went about his business. And it wasn't until he actually went to hit his last plate appearance that someone said to me that he didn't seem right on the bench."

That came in the seventh inning with the bases loaded. Avila struck out on three pitches from lefty reliever Marc Rzepczynski, then he was lifted for backup catcher Bryan Holaday to begin the eighth.

"As soon as that at-bat was over, I asked him how he's feeling and [head athletic trainer] Kevin Rand asked him how he's feeling," Ausmus said. "He said he had a little bit of a headache, so that was a red flag right there and we just got him out."

Avila missed three games earlier this month after taking a foul tip in Cleveland on Sept. 2. He didn't go on the concussion disabled list because of expanded September rosters, but he wasn't cleared to play until he had a full symptom-free day.

Sunday's departure will likely put him back on close watch for symptoms. He has missed time in each of the last three seasons with head injuries.

Avila traveled with the team to Minnesota on Sunday evening.

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.