6/16/2013 6:01 P.M. ET
Leyland concerned after Sanchez's short outing
By Kelly Erickson / MLB.com
MINNEAPOLIS -- After Anibal Sanchez's short outing on Saturday night, Tigers manager Jim Leyland expressed some unease about his right-hander.
Leyland pulled Sanchez after 3 2/3 innings and 72 pitches. Sanchez missed his previous start with muscle stiffness in his upper back and was pulled on Saturday as a precaution, Leyland said after the game. The Tigers skipper also said that Sanchez was fine physically and was planning to pull him around 80 pitches.
But prior to Sunday's game, Leyland added that Sanchez "just didn't look right" in his start and was admittedly concerned.
"The funny part about it is, there's no pain or anything," Leyland said. "That's the information I'm getting. … I'm concerned about it. You don't have to be a rocket scientist to smell something. It just didn't look right coming out [of his hand]."
Sanchez did say after the game that despite feeling fine physically, his pitches didn't have their usual power and velocity.
"I can't explain it, I would like to know how this happened," Sanchez said.
Avila exits with wrist injury after getting two hits
MINNEAPOLIS -- Alex Avila left Sunday's 5-2 victory over the Twins in the ninth inning on Sunday after being hit by a Brian Duensing pitch just above the left wrist. His status for Monday's game against the Orioles is unknown.
"Preliminary X-rays were negative, but we're going to have to do something when we get back, to look at it," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "Its up a little higher than I originally thought. We have to wait and see.
"He was in some pain. We were just afraid he couldn't catch the ball. We just felt like it was best to get him out of there, don't take any chances."
Before the injury, Avila finally made something click at the plate, ending a six-game, 0-for-17 skid. In his first appearance at the plate, Avila dropped a double down the left-field line and followed up with a two-out single in the fourth that set up a two-run Austin Jackson home run.
"He's tough as nails, and he swung the bat better today too," Leyland said. "We're thrilled with that. Now it looks like I don't know what's going to happen with this thing."
Prior to Sunday's start, Avila was batting .163 with only 26 hits on the season. Before the game, Leyland said that in an effort to get Avila out of his slump, he's been giving him days off here and there, but put him in Sunday's lineup because he felt he'd have some value in the game.
"Alex realizes he's got to do it, but you still want to be there for him," Leyland said before the game. "My heart aches for him right now. I know it's a business and all that but my heart aches for the kid right now because he is just struggling so bad … but this is the big leagues."
• The Tigers' bullpen is 4-13 this season -- the worst record in baseball -- after left-handed reliever Darin Downs took Saturday night's 6-3 loss.
• In the last four games before Sunday, Miguel Cabrera had no plate appearances with runners in scoring position. The four-game skid ties his longest stretch this season without an RBI. His previous stretch was May 25-28 against Minnesota and Pittsburgh.
Kelly Erickson is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.