Avila works at shaking off rust before rejoining Detroit

Pawtucket’s Aceves effective against Hens

6/24/2013
BY JOHN WAGNER
BLADE SPORTS WRITER
Toledo's Alex Avila connects with the ball in Sunday's game against Pawtucket at Fifth Third Field. The Detroit Tiger catcher was a designated hitter in Sunday’s game and went 0-for-3 with a walk as the Mud Hens lost to Pawtucket.
Toledo's Alex Avila connects with the ball in Sunday's game against Pawtucket at Fifth Third Field. The Detroit Tiger catcher was a designated hitter in Sunday’s game and went 0-for-3 with a walk as the Mud Hens lost to Pawtucket.

Talk about adding a bat: The Mud Hens have added a 2011 American League all-star to the lineup.

Alex Avila joined Toledo on Sunday in the Hens’ 7-2 loss to Pawtucket. He will stay with the team as he rebounds from a deep contusion in his left forearm that pushed him to Detroit’s disabled list June 17.

Sunday Avila popped out in the first, flew out to left in the third and sixth before drawing a four-pitch walk in the eighth.

PHOTO GALLERY: Mud Hens fall to Pawtucket

“The at-bats felt fine, and my wrist felt fine,” Avila said. “I haven’t played in a week, so I’m a little rusty — a little ‘late’ [on pitches]. But each at-bat got a little better.”

Avila, who was hit on the forearm with a pitch in Kansas City on June 16, is expected to stay with the Hens until he is able to come off the disabled list. Barring setbacks, that means he will be with Toledo until rejoining the Tigers on July 2.

Avila served as the Hens’ designated hitter Sunday and will DH again in today’s noon game against Pawtucket. Manager Phil Nevin said Avila probably will catch Tuesday and will get consistent at-bats while seeing enough action at catcher to remain sharp.

“I’m just finishing my days on the disabled list here, trying to get some work in and trying to improve,” Avila said. “I want to find a way to help this team [the next week or so], and then I want to help the Tigers.”

Avila said he won’t be making any mechanical changes; his time with the Mud Hens will be about getting consistent at-bats.

“As long as I have played … you have to stick with what gets you there,” he said. “This is about getting consistent at-bats and making solid contact.”

Toledo's Ben Guez runs in to makes a catch while teammate Danny Dorn backs him up in Sunday's game against Pawtucket.
Toledo's Ben Guez runs in to makes a catch while teammate Danny Dorn backs him up in Sunday's game against Pawtucket.

All four of Avila’s at-bats came against Pawtucket’s Alfredo Aceves, who limited the Hens to one run on five hits and one walk in eight strong innings.

Nevin said that the Mud Hens didn’t get many good swings off Aceves.

“He did a good job of keeping us off-balance,” Nevin said. “He used a cutter … and he’s a guy who’s had a lot of success in the major leagues and was very good [in this game].”

The lone run off Aceves came in the third when Brad Davis tripled to the wall in center with one out, then came home on a groundout by Argenis Diaz.

Meanwhile Toledo starter Pat Misch gave up eight hits and six runs, five of which were earned, in 6 1/​3 innings. Nevin said Misch threw better than his final line showed.

“I thought Misch threw the ball well,” Nevin said. “We shouldn’t have allowed the run in the second, and the two [home run] balls in the fifth were balls that were elevated on a day where the ball was flying out.

“To me, I thought his line was skewed. I thought he pitched a heck of a lot better than his line showed.”

The Red Sox scored in the second when, with two outs, Danny Worth made an error at second base that allowed a run to come home. In the fifth Pawtucket scored four times thanks in large part to a solo homer to left by Alberto Rosario and a two-run home run to center by Bryce Brentz.

“I didn’t think those balls were hit very well,” Nevin said. “Those were just wind-blown home runs.

“Look at the reaction of the outfielders: They just faded back. The balls were hit up in the air and blown out.”

The Red Sox used two hits and a walk to score in the seventh, and Xander Bogaerts added a solo homer in the ninth to cap the scoring.

NOTES: Diaz, who missed the previous two games because of injury, singled and doubled to extend his current hitting streak to 13 games. … RHP Justin Souza and LHP Blaine Hardy pitched in their first games as Mud Hens after earning promotions from Double-A Erie. …Sunday’s crowd of 9,474 was the third sellout in as many days and 12th full house at Fifth Third Field this season.

Contact John Wagner at: jwagner@theblade.com, 419-724-6481 or on Twitter @jwagnerblade.