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Avila exits again with hamstring ailment; DL could be next

The Sports Xchange
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--C Alex Avila started Tuesday night but was removed after five innings when his right hamstring tightened up. Avila has been dealing with a tight right hamstring, as has the player who replaced him, C Gerald Laird. Avila went 0-for-2 during his brief stint. Avila first reported the hamstring problem June 2, and this was his first action since then. Avila said he felt it tightening up again in the second inning but tried to play through it. Manager Jim Leyland said he would consult with the trainers and his GM, Dave Dombrowski, but was leaning toward putting his regular catcher on the disabled list to get it fully healed.

--LHP Drew Smyly struck out the first four batters he faced Tuesday night but later gave up three RBI triples. He avoided the two-run home run (he's allowed six in his 11 starts) but began to lose his precision in the third inning of the six he pitched. "He made some mistakes 0-1 and 1-2," C Alex Avila said. "You can't do that up there." Manager Jim Leyland added, "He's had one year of pro ball, and he's our fifth starter. He's doing OK."

--3B Miguel Cabrera drove in Detroit's first run Tuesday with a double in the opening inning. Cabrera also added a single and is one of the few Tigers not seeming to be lost or confused at the plate. Cabrera was second among third basemen in balloting for the AL All-Star team according to results released Tuesday by Major League Baseball. Cabrera had 886,365 votes to trail Texas' Adrian Beltre, who had 1,179,864.

--OF Matt Young made his first start Tuesday night for Detroit, playing left field and batting second. "He does have a pretty good on-base numbers at Toledo," manager Jim Leyland said before Young went 0-for-4, all strikeouts. "He's not an automatic out."

--1B Prince Fielder led American League players at his position in balloting for this summer's All-Star Game with 1,027,070 votes, according to first results released Tuesday by Major League Baseball. Second to Fielder was 1B Mark Teixeira of the Yankees with 697,602. Fielder extended his hitting streak to 12 games Tuesday with a line single to right in the sixth inning.

--CF Quintin Berry took over the team lead with his seventh stolen base Tuesday night and scored a run despite going hitless. Berry was hit by a pitch leading off the first, stole for the seventh time in seven tries and scored on a two-out double by 3B Miguel Cabrera. Berry now has one more steal in 13 games than disabled CF Austin Jackson does in 36.

--UT Don Kelly was held out of action Tuesday night due to illness. "He had a fever and was throwing up all day long," manager Jim Leyland said. "The concern there is you don't want to spread that throughout the clubhouse."

--3B Nick Castellanos, Detroit's top position playing prospect, was promoted late Monday to Class AA Erie. The 44th pick of the 2010 draft went 2-for-4 Monday for high Class A Lakeland, and he left the Florida State League with a .405 batting average. It will probably be at least a week before any player in the league passes his total of 87 hits. Castellanos had three home runs and 32 RBI in 55 games for Lakeland and was named to the league's All-Star team.

--DH Victor Martinez is visiting Detroit for the second time this season and reports "no pain" in his healing left knee. Martinez has an MRI scheduled June 28 but so far has passed all tests in his efforts to come back from knee surgery. He did not have to undergo a second operation to fix his ACL. "That's the one where I'm ready to start running," Martinez said Tuesday of his month-end MRI. "It's been all good news. I'm closer." He said it was hard to watch the Tigers struggle. "You want to be part of it. To not be able to, it's tough." Martinez will be in Detroit's clubhouse for all three games of its series with Cleveland. "At least I can practice as a cheerleader," he said.

BY THE NUMBERS
10 -- Times at bat by Detroit hitters Tuesday night with outcomes determined in favorable hitter's counts (i.e., 1-0, 2-0, 2-1, 3-1). The Tigers were 0-for-9 with one walk in those situations, contributing to a 4-2 loss to Cleveland.

QUOTE TO NOTE
"This is a critical time for us. We can go in a corner, or we can come out swinging. If we come out swinging, well, we've got a chance. If not, we're going to be more vulnerable." -- Manager Jim Leyland, summing up what he told his team in a brief postgame meeting following Detroit's sixth loss in eight games.

Copyright (C) 2012 The Sports Xchange. All Rights Reserved.

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