Alex Avila out “at least” two games with knee soreness

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Tigers catcher Alex Avila limped through last year’s postseason, batting just .073/.116/.146 in 44 plate appearances while dealing with left patella tendinitis.

He got over the issue this winter and has enjoyed a decent start (.250/.333/.463 in 23 games) to the 2012 campaign. But that knee tendinitis is back.

According to Tom Gage of the Detroit News, Avila will be sidelined for “at least” the Tigers’ next two games due to renewed patella soreness. And there’s legitimate concern that he’ll have many more absences in the future.

The Tigers will turn to veteran backup Gerald Laird for now. If Avila’s patella tendinitis lingers like it did throughout last October, outside options may have to be considered.

Mike Fiers may not be ready for start of regular season due to back issue

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Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press reports that Tigers starter Mike Fiers is dealing with a back issue and may not be ready for the start of the season. Manager Ron Gardenhire characterized the injury as a “stiff back” and added, “Maybe a little bit of a bulging disk or something like that.”

Fiers, 32, signed a one-year, $6 million deal with the Tigers in December. He has had a forgettable spring, yielding 12 runs on 10 hits and eight walks with seven strikeouts in 11 1/3 innings.

Fiers had a rotation spot locked up along with Michael Fulmer, Jordan Zimmermann, and Francisco Liriano. Matt Boyd and Daniel Norris were battling it out for the No. 5 spot. If Fiers opens the regular season on the 10-day disabled list, both could have spots in the rotation.