Detroit — Alex Avila is almost ready to play but he’ll head to Toledo first.
Avila, who has been on the 7-day concussion list since August 11, has been eligible to return for a few days but had to follow the protocol to be cleared.
Avila had to resume activity and get his heart rate up to 60 percent and then 85 percent while staying symptom-free.
After Wednesday night’s game, manager Jim Leyland said Avila would go on a rehabilitation assignment.
“Personally, I think you don’t want to forget that he hasn’t played for 10 days,” Leyland said. “You’re thrilled to death that he’s healthy, but you still can’t forget that he hasn’t had an at-bat in 10 days, so when we had our conversation, my suggestion was, we’ll play it by ear, but let’s go catch seven innings Thursday and Friday, let’s DH on Saturday the whole game and then maybe catch five or six on Sunday.”
Avila may not have to remain with the Mud Hens that long, but Leyland wants to be sure he can catch without getting headaches again.
“The No. 1 thing is to get him back here healthy,” Leyland said. “But the next thing is to be productive. He hasn’t seen any pitching for 10 days now. That’s not easy. I’d hate to bring him into New York to face (Matt) Harvey after sitting off for 12 days.”