04/13/2013 10:45 PM ET
Avila willing to play, but gets breather Saturday
By Willie Bans / Special to MLB.com
OAKLAND -- If it was up to catcher Alex Avila, he would be starting Saturday.
It's not up to Avila.
Avila was hit in the back of the head by Brandon Moss' backswing in the eighth inning of Friday's 4-3 loss to the A's in 12 innings, and he fouled a pitch off his right shin. He told manager Jim Leyland after the game that he could play Saturday.
"Alex actually wanted to play today, and to me that's totally stupid," Leyland said. "You played 12 innings, you got banged on the head. You got your leg banged up. That doesn't make any sense at all to me."
Brayan Pena got the start at catcher for the second time this season. He went 1-for-4 against the Yankees on April 7.
Avila said he understands Leyland's decision.
"It's not going to stop me from wanting to play every day," Avila said. "Especially after a game like that."
Dotel to be cautious with injured elbow
OAKLAND -- Octavio Dotel is not going to rush coming back from an injured elbow.
He pitched two-thirds of the ninth inning in the Tigers' 4-3 loss to the A's in 12 innings Friday before leaving with elbow discomfort. After Saturday's 7-3 win, he said the injury wasn't serious, just "a little inflammation."
"Hopefully in the next couple of days, everything is going to be OK," Dotel said.
Dotel doesn't know the exact moment he sustained the injury, but because it is only April, he'll be cautious.
"Better to miss one or two days than three months," Dotel said.
Bullpen slightly overworked after extra-innings loss
OAKLAND -- As good as the Tigers say the classic extra-innings game Friday was, the bullpen is a little spent as a result.
Detroit used four relief pitchers in Friday's 4-3 loss in 12 innings against the A's. Drew Smyly and Darin Downs were unavailable Saturday because they each tossed at least two innings.
Octavio Dotel got two outs in the ninth inning before leaving with an elbow injury. Manager Jim Leyland said before Saturday's game that he had not yet received a report from the training staff about the extent of the injury, but he essentially said Dotel was unavailable.
Leyland said Phil Coke should be available after he had a stomach illness Friday night.
"I feel a lot better," Coke said. "I really couldn't stand without losing my equilibrium yesterday. I'm good."
Rick Porcello was available out of the bullpen. Previously scheduled to start Tuesday, Porcello will be skipped because of the day off Monday, and Doug Fister will start instead.
• The Tigers' 17 strikeouts against Oakland on Friday is tied for the most in a game against the A's. It was the fifth time since 1916 that Detriot struck out at least 17 in a road game.
• Austin Jackson has reached base safely in all 10 games this season. He also scored a run Friday, making him the fourth Tigers player since 1916 to score at least one run in each of the team's first 10 games of the year.
Willie Bans is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.