Friday, 1 July 2011

Tigers' Jim Leyland: 'It would be an absolute shame' if Alex Avila doesn't make All-Star team

Alex Avila Mug.jpgAlex AvilaDETROIT -- Add Detroit Tigers manager Leyland to the legions who insist Alex Avila, who is hitting .303 with 10 home runs and 46 RBIs, and has been an effective receiver and stolen-base deterrent -- like Thursday, when he gunned down the Mets’ Jose Reyes, who is 30-for-36 on steal attempts -- deserves to play in the All-Star Game.

Avila is second in the voting to New York's Russell Martin, which ends tonight.

"I’ve never been one to get involved in that because sometimes it’s a popularity contest, people stuffing ballots and stuff," Leyland said. "So I’ve never really gotten into that. But I think it’s a no-brainer and I hope they do get behind him to vote. It would be an absolute shame, to me, in my opinion, if Alex Avila wasn’t on the All-Star team. He deserves it.

"So I hope they stuff the ballots or do whatever they want. I realize I’m contradicting myself but it would be a shame if he was not on the team."
Short hops
-- The Mets placed outfielder Willie Harris on the bereavement list before the game, and recalled outfielder Francisco Martinez from Triple-A Buffalo, after Harris’ wife went into premature labor following five months of pregnancy and lost the baby on Wednesday night.

-- Leyland said Avila probably will catch Friday, despite the Giants using left-handed starter Madison Bumgarner, because of the workload Victor Martinez handled behind the plate Wednesday, when five Tigers, including Don Kelly, made 208 total pitches.

-- Justin Verlander’s turnstile power was evident again, with 31,861 in attendance, the third-largest home crowd for a Monday through Thursday game this season, exceeded only by another of Verlander’s starts (33,641, May 13 vs. Kansas City) and the finale of a three-game series with intra-division challenger Cleveland (37,437, May 16).?

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