Detroit Tigers Alex Avila isn’t Getting Surgery, Good or Bad Choice?


Apr 14, 2015; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Detroit Tigers catcher Alex Avila (13) throws to first base to retire Pittsburgh Pirates shortstop Jordy Mercer (not pictured) during the third inning at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Detroit Tigers catcher Alex Avila has been dealing with concussions the past few seasons and that has more than not been the reason why he was on the DL. Now he finds himself on the 15 day DL for a knee loose body injury in his left knee. When Avila went on the DL he went and got opinions from three different doctors and has finally come to the decision to avoid surgery.

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Is this choice a bad one for Avila and the Tigers or a smart one? Well, that depends on just how bad the injury is. Doing some research and trying to figure out exactly what a loose body injury is, it is basically having “small fragments of cartilage or bone that move freely around the knee in joint fluid, or synovium.” according to The Stone Clinic Orthopedic Surgery & Rehabilitation. They also say that the loose body injury can cause loss of motion in the joint and basically be a big pain to someone with Avila’s job.

Most places that you go to research treatments for this injury the first thing you see is that doctors say surgery is the best possible solution. However, sometimes the loose body injury can be fixed without surgery. That with rest and rehab you can fix it yourself, this being because the loose body isn’t actually loose, it is just irritated, however a clear time-table isn’t known and that is the case with Avila.

This puts the Tigers in an interesting place in the sense that they get to see how good James McCann can be when he is given full-time playing time. However it also makes manager Brad Ausmus in the situation of if McCann is doing great and Avila is ready to come back, do you throw him in as the back up? Who ends up getting the starting job? Does Avila because of seniority, or do you keep the younger guy in there because he is getting you the production you need?

Detroit Tigers
Detroit Tigers /

Detroit Tigers

Obviously the smart coaching choice is you put the player in their that gives you the best chance to win. That is one way to never be truly at fault for how the outcome ends. If you put your best team out there, you are at least trying to win. So is this team better with McCann or Avila starting? I don’t think you can fully judge that yet and give a definite answer. After McCann plays more and we see how he takes this new role, then I think you can judge, but not until then.

McCann is younger, has better legs under him as a catcher compared to Avila. Yet Avila knows the pitching staff much better than McCann at the moment and the relationship between a pitcher and catcher is an important one. It will be interesting to see how the team deals with this as the situation moves on. This whole situation has more of a long-term effect in if Avila will be brought back to the team next season, he has been injury prone most of his time here, but has also shown times of greatness as a player.

What would you do if you were Ausmus? Would you keep McCann in if he has good numbers or give the starting spot back to Avila when he is ready to come back? Let us know below.

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