Originally posted on Fox Sports Detroit  |  Last updated 6/17/13
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By DAVE HOGGFOXSPORTSNEWS.COM Alex Avila gets hit with a lot of baseballs, so he knew right away Sunday that this one was bad. The Tigers catcher had just been hit on the left forearm by a fastball, and crumpled to the ground in pain. Of course, that seems to happen at least once or twice a game, usually on foul tips, but this time, he didn't bounce back up. He ended leaving the game with what the Tigers hope is only a badly bruised arm, and was placed on the 15-day disabled list on Monday. "That is as much pain as I have ever been in on the field," Avila said. "I didn't know if it was broken or not, but I knew I wasn't going to be playing the rest of the game." A preliminary scan in Minnesota didn't show a break, but Avila was waiting for Comerica Park's x-ray technician to arrive to get a definite answer. "I want to know, but there's no one here yet that can run the equipment," he said. "Maybe Donnie (Kelly) could do it - he's our jack-of-all-trades." Avila wasn't the only one headed to the disabled list - Anibal Sanchez is also going to be sidelined for the next two weeks. The Tigers had hoped that missing one start would be enough to heal Sanchez's irritated pitching shoulder, but it didn't happen. He struggled against the Twins and will be replaced by Jose Alvarez for at least two starts. An MRI of Sanchez's shoulder showed no structural damage, so Jim Leyland is hoping to have both halves of his battery back in two weeks. "You never know for sure, but I would think they would be both back in 15 days," he said. "Alex would probably be back in four or five days, but we can't go with one catcher for that long." Bryan Holaday, who is hitting .259 in Toledo, will replace Avila on the roster, but Leyland wasn't sure how much he will play. "We need Doc up here, and he'll probably play Thursday against Jon Lester, but I'm not going to try to set up some rotation system with he and Brayan," he said. "Doc's going to be the backup, and he'll get the work of a backup catcher." Since Alvarez won't start until Thursday, the Tigers brought Avisail Garcia back up. That was a surprising move, since Leyland has said that he wants Garcia to play every day to aid in his development. Garcia could get a chance to play in place of slumping Andy Dirks, but Dirks was in the starting lineup on Monday. NO ANSWERS FOR PITCHERS: Leyland said that he was horrified at the sight of Tampa's Alex Cobb taking a line drive to the ear this weekend, but didn't have a magic solution to cut down on head injuries for pitchers. "I had just turned the game on when it happened, and that must be the worst one of those I've ever seen," he said. "That looked like it was going to be a complete catastrophe. I'm just so happy that that young man is OK, because that was a bad one." Despite his horror at the situation, and the fact that it seems to be happening more often as bigger players hit harder line drives up the middle, Leyland doesn't know how to fix it. "I don't want to sound cold and uncaring, because I'm not, but I don't know if there is an answer," he said. "I would be happy to have someone prove me wrong, but I don't think pitchers can throw with a helmet on -- I just don't see how that will work. They could use cap liners -- that's what we had before batting helmets -- but I just don't think a helmet will work." BULLPEN REPORT: Leyland wasn't tipping his hand about Monday's closer, although he said he had a pretty good idea. "It is like Days of Our Lives, fellas -- you are just going to have to wait and see," he said. "I know what my thought processes are right now, but they might change during the game. Hopefully, we'll get a lead and you'll get to ask me about the closer after the game." Leyland did say that Darin Downs would not pitch Monday night after having some minor soreness in his last outing.
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