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Alex Avila's season may be in jeopardy due to concussion-like symptoms

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The Tigers' starting catcher has missed four consecutive games since leaving the game early against the Indians on Sept. 14.

Leon Halip

Alex Avila tried batting practice Friday, but couldn't play in the Tigers' 10-1 victory over the Royals. He was still dizzy and unable to focus days after leaving a game against the Indians with concussion-like symptoms. Now, reading between the lines of manager Brad Ausmus' quotes from Friday, the future of the Tigers' starting catcher this season sounds uncertain.

Tom Gage of the Detroit News:

On Friday, though, Ausmus said "the truth is that if we don't know when Alex is coming back, you have to be prepared.

"If he doesn't come back, we're going to need two catchers. But until Alex can go through any activity, he probably won't be able to play."

Avila told the media he can do some activities, such as weight lifting or hitting off a tee, but tracking a baseball is difficult and continuing to catch right now puts him at further risk for making the injury worse.

Via Chris Iott, MLive:

"In talking to doctors, the concern would be if I'm concussed and I continue -- instead of coming out or not playing, continuing to play and then have a situation where I get hit again or something like that while I'm still concussed. That's where the concern really lies in with the doctors. Not so much I had one last year and I have one this year"

The Tigers are looking for Avila to be able to participate fully in team activities and come back the next day still feeling fine before he'll be able to return to the lineup, Iott notes.

That Avila has suffered repeated head injuries is a concern. In August of last season, he was placed on the concussion DL. He missed several games at the start of this month after taking a foul tip off the mask. The latest injury was caused when he was tagged hard in the face on a successful pickoff attempt by the Indians on Sunday.

Obviously it's too early say Avila won't return this season. But in the meantime, Tigers fans got a look at rookie catcher James McCann on Friday. The 24-year-old went 2-for-5, picking up his first major league hit and first major league stolen base in his second start.  However, Bryan Holaday is back in the starting lineup Saturday afternoon. This will be his 40th start of the season.