V-Mart, Avila inch closer to return from DL

MARTINEZ: Detroit Tigers  designated hitter Victor Martinez  (Detroit Free Press)

MARTINEZ: Detroit Tigers
designated hitter Victor Martinez
(Detroit Free Press)

ANAHEIM, Calif. – Brad Ausmus received some good news on the Tigers’ injury front on Friday, courtesy of two text messages from Victor Martinez and Alex Avila.

Martinez has had “Three good days in a row,” he texted Ausmus, and, “He did have an exclamation point at the end.”

The Tigers’ designated hitter is rehabilitating near his home in Orlando, Fla. from left knee inflammation, which forced him to the 15-day disabled list on May 19.

He is expected to be with the team this week in Detroit.

Avila, meanwhile, “Said he feels great,” Ausmus said, and possibly could start baseball activities this week.

He has been on the 15-day disabled list with what is termed “a loose body in left knee,” since May 8, but, Ausmus said, Avila avoided surgery because doctors weren’t convinced that there was a loose body in there.

“The only way they were going to know if it was loose or not was if they go in and under surgery, see if it was but they weren’t convinced that it was, that’s why they tried this treatment route,” Ausmus said.

When he progresses to the point of playing games, Avila likely will have to embark on a minor-league rehabilitation stint although, “I don’t think it would be terribly long,” Ausmus said.

“I don’t think he has to go down there for two weeks or anything like that,” he said. “Play a handful of games, probably build him up in terms of catching innings a little bit, make sure he can go catch nine without any issues.”

Avila is hitting .200 with two home runs and eight RBIs in 22 games this season. In his absence, rookie James McCann has assumed the everyday catching duties and, Ausmus said, “He’s handled himself extremely well for a rookie catcher on a team that’s expected to win.”

Simon to return to rotation Tuesday vs. A’s

Alfredo Simon will start on Tuesday.

The Tigers’ right-hander will return from the bereavement list to open a three-game set against the Athletics at home. He left the team on Tuesday night to visit his father, who died recently in the Dominican Republic.

With a scheduled off-day on Monday, the Tigers will throw Simon and right-handers Shane Greene and Anibal Sanchez against the A’s.

Simon, 34, has been the Tigers’ most consistent pitcher this season, posting a 2.67 ERA in nine starts. He is 5-2 on the season with 38 strikeouts in 571/3 innings.

With his next starting assignment in sight, manager Brad Ausmus will be free to use left-hander Kyle Ryan out of the bullpen.

Ryan was slated to make Simon’s start on Tuesday if he was unable to return to the team on time.

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Posted by Tribune News Services

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