It was Avila's first game action since the Tigers' last home game eight days earlier, when a blow to the side of his head from a pickoff tag caused lightheadedness that eventually forced him out of the game. It was later called a concussion once dizziness and disorientation kept him out for the rest of the week.
That time off seemingly reflected in an 0-for-4, three-strikeout performance. Though Avila had taken batting practice and faced live pitching in Anibal Sanchez's simulated game Sunday, he hadn't caught game-action pitches. Tracking pitches at game speed is expected to be key.
However, Avila and Ausmus were hesitant to pin the results on rust.
"It's a little different, live [batting practice] to a game," Avila said. "It was a tough 0-for-4, but I'm not going to blame it on not playing for a week."
Said Ausmus: "Maybe a little bit, but I wouldn't say that was the cause."
Rest or rust, Avila said it was not a reflection of any difficulty tracking the ball, saying he felt fine. His medical clearance included follow-up impact tests taken early Monday afternoon, according to Tigers head athletic trainer Kevin Rand.
"First and foremost, you get him symptom-free. We've been there for a while now, as far as his symptoms are concerned," Rand said. "Then you have to take him through some light activity. Then you have to take him through some baseball-specific activity and maintain that he stays symptom-free. Then, you have to repeat impact testing, which is a concussion-testing protocol, which we have a baseline on. Then, we have to do a SCAT3, which is a concussion assessment."
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.