Tigers activate Alex Avila from DL, lose backup Gerald Laird to hamstring injury


Alex Avila missed the minimum 15 days on the disabled list and is now back on the Tigers’ active roster after being sidelined by a hamstring injury.

His return comes at a good time, as the Tigers lost backup Gerald Laird to a hamstring injury yesterday after relying on him to do most of the catching in Avila’s absence.

Avila went 3-for-7 on a brief minor-league rehab assignment at Triple-A. He was hitting .250 with five homers and a .766 OPS in 44 games before being shut down, which presented a 45-point drop in batting average and 130-point drop in OPS compared to his breakout 2011 season.

Laird came into the season as a career .242 hitter, but batted .302 in limited action.

David Phelps to undergo Tommy John surgery

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Pitcher David Phelps has a torn UCL and will undergo Tommy John surgery, ending his 2018 season, the Mariners announced on Wednesday. Phelps was making brief one-inning stints in the Cactus League as he worked his way back from a procedure to remove a bone spur from his elbow last September. He said he felt the ligament tear on his final pitch against the Angels in his March 17 appearance.

Phelps, 31, was expected to set up for closer Edwin Diaz. The right-hander, between the Marlins and Mariners last season, posted a 3.40 ERA with a 62/26 K/BB ratio in 55 2/3 innings. He and the Mariners avoided arbitration in January, agreeing on a $5.55 million salary for the 2018 campaign. Phelps will become eligible to become a free agent at the end of the season.

As the Mariners noted in their statement, the expected recovery period for Tommy John surgery is 12-15 months, so this very likely cuts into Phelps’ 2019 season as well.