After rest, rooting for Alabama, Tigers’ Avila ready for baseball

Tigers catcher Alex Avila makes a diving catch during Game 3 of the ALCS against the Yankees at Comerica Park on Oct. 16, 2012. (Mandi Wright/Detroit Free Press/MCT)

Catcher Alex Avila said he’s looking forward to being back in Detroit this week for the Tigers’ annual winter caravan and TigerFest.

Avila has had a busy offseason, which included surgery, watching Alabama win the BCS national championship and agreeing last week to a one-year, $2.95 million contract.

“To be honest with you, at least for me, for most players, it’s a relief not to have to go to (an arbitration) hearing,” Avila said of getting a deal done.

Avila said he is working out daily and has started to hit and throw.

“By the time spring training starts, I’ll be good to go,” Avila said. “At this point, I feel great.”

After the World Series, Avila said he took the rest of November off, mainly to recover from a wrist injury and a PRP (platelet-rich plasma) injection in his left knee.

“I was told I needed to take at least two or three weeks off and that’s what I did,” Avila said. “The last couple of days of November … I got back in the swing of things as far as conditioning and working out.”

Avila lives in south Florida during the offseason, so he went to Miami to watch Alabama beat Notre Dame for the BCS title. Avila played college baseball at Alabama.

“The game was great in my perspective, obviously, having gone to Alabama,” Avila said. “I enjoyed every minute of it.

“It was a no-brainer for me to get to that game.”

Now he’s getting ready to head back to Detroit.

“I very much enjoy going to the winter caravan, mingling with the fans,” Avila said. “It’s so much more personal than anything else that we get to do with the fans, just because of the amount of stops we make. And the fan fest itself, you’re up close and personal, hearing how long people have been going to games and how long they’ve been fans … that stuff never gets old.”

TigerFest signals the end of the off-season for Avila, who will be among the pitchers and catchers who report to Lakeland, Fla. in Feb. 11.

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Posted by Tribune News Services

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