Without the designated hitter spot at his disposal Tigers manager Jim Leyland is getting creative for interleague play tonight by starting catcher Alex Avila at third base, where he hasn’t played a single inning since college.
Detroit’s regular third baseman, Brandon Inge, is on the disabled list, and playing Avila out of position allows Victor Martinez to get into the lineup at catcher.
Despite seeing zero action at third base in the majors or minors Avila seems pretty comfortable with the move, telling Ted Kulfan of the Detroit News: “It won’t be anything new for me. Just go out there and see what happens.”
It probably won’t be pretty–and I’m curious why Leyland wouldn’t just play Miguel Cabrera at third base, where he has plenty of experience–but Avila has been a damn good catcher this year, throwing out 40 percent of steal attempts, and it’s easy to see why Leyland would be willing to sacrifice defense to keep his bat in the lineup with a .304 average and .916 OPS through 58 games.