Avila Knee Makes Tigers Nervous in Detroit

Oh, Detroit. We really, really wish the city could catch a break sometime this millenium. First it was their resurgence into the World Series in 2006, where the Detroit Tigers were heavily favored, but ultimately lost to their underdog opponents, the St. Louis Cardinals in five games. Then there were the auto bailouts, which drew attention to a big city turned ghost town almost overnight. Last year, the Detroit Lions were flying high at 6-0 under the arm of Matthew Stafford until Head Coach Jim Schwartz got into a scuffle with San Francisco 49ers Head Coach Jim Harbaugh and the Lions went south from there. Today, the Tigers are nervous again.

Alex Avila, Detroit’s star catcher, told reporters last October that he didn’t need surgery on his knee, a question that was spurred on by his constant reference to the problem. At the time, the Tigers had just lost Game 6 of the American League Championship to the Rangers and the impending offseason seemed like a reasonable time for the media to ask if he would get himself fixed up. That didn’t happen. Avila planned to just rest the knee without any procedures.

Now he’s in a world of hurt.

“All last year, at least the second half, I was playing with it and got it to a point where this may be something that I didn’t get fully taken care of and didn’t realize what kind of damage I did. I’m getting another opinion today, so we’ll find out what [the doctor] says.”

Avila dropped his batting average from .300 to a .234 and now hits just a .216 average. That’s rough. Manager Jim Leyland is already looking for ways to faze him out, but that doesn’t mean the team and the city isn’t feeling nervous. Anytime you upset the apple cart, people have to wonder if things will fall apart. Should the doctors say that Avila needs surgery, then, of course, we recommend that he heed that advice and get himself taken care of.

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