Avila set to return to Tigers with doctors' approval

Detroit following procedure for players with concussion symptoms

Avila set to return to Tigers with doctors' approval

KANSAS CITY -- Alex Avila, a week removed from his last game while dealing with concussion symptoms, could be back in the Tigers' lineup as soon as Monday night if he receives clearance from doctors.

Two days after struggling to hit in a batting cage without feeling lightheaded, Avila took batting practice on the field, caught Anibal Sanchez while warming up in the bullpen, then hit against Sanchez in his simulated game -- all without the dizziness or disorientation that had bothered him for most of the week.

"He felt good," manager Brad Ausmus said after Sunday's 5-2 loss to the Royals, "so I'm optimistic that there'll be a decision on him tomorrow."

That decision, Ausmus said, will first go through team doctors and a medical panel, which will examine test results on Avila and decide whether he's fit to play. The clearance is standard for concussion-related injuries across Major League Baseball.

Avila said he felt steady improvement over the past few days, even though he was still limited in his activity until Saturday.

"Basically for the last three days, everything was just kind of like a guessing game, kind of just hoping I felt better," Avila said. "Definitely happy that yesterday was a good day and I was able to follow that up today feeling very well. As soon as they give me the thumbs-up, I'm playing as soon as possible."

The Tigers open a three-game series against the White Sox on Monday. If Avila plays, it would mark his first game action since a pickoff tag at first base knocked him in the head.

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.