ARLINGTON -- The middle reliever has found a place on the All-Star Game roster. Tigers manager Jim Leyland thinks Joaquin Benoit belongs on it.
Leyland doesn't do a whole lot of lobbying anymore unless the American League All-Star manager asks him, and he usually doesn't do it publicly. He's doing it for Benoit, who owns a 1.85 ERA and 45 strikeouts in 34 innings while arguably keeping the Tigers' bullpen together.
"I voted for him for the All-Star Game," Leyland said. "That pretty much sums it up for me. I think he's as good a setup guy as there is in the game. That's just the way I feel about it."
Managers, like players, cast their votes for players in their league -- two at each position, plus five starting pitchers and three relievers. The results help determine the All-Star pitching staff and bench. Managers can now vote for players on their own team.
Leyland has shown his pull towards middle relievers before. When he managed the AL All-Star team in 2007, he helped put together a Final Vote ballot that included non-closing relievers such as Hideki Okajima and Pat Neshek, with Okajima winning the final roster spot.
"I think [Yankees setup man David] Robertson's an All-Star pitcher," said Leyland, who voted for him, too. "When he comes in the game and he's healthy, I don't feel too good."
Robertson made the All-Star team last year.
"I don't think an All-Star Game should be played, in my opinion, without necessarily some of the best setup guys in all of baseball," Leyland said. "Why shouldn't they get a chance?"
Avila in lineup day after tendinitis diagnosis
ARLINGTON -- Alex Avila is probably going to have to play less than the Tigers would like. That didn't mean he wasn't going to play on Tuesday.
A day after Avila had his left knee examined and was diagnosed with patellar tendinitis, he felt good enough that he was back in the Tigers' starting lineup. Between treatment and the confidence Avila has knowing he can't make his knee worse, he was ready to go.
"He's playing today because he said he feels good," manager Jim Leyland said Tuesday afternoon. "They gave him some heavy medication for the inflammation that really helped it during the game last night, and today he said he's ready to go. I'll watch it, though.
"How much is he going to be able to play? He might not catch as much as we want, but who knows? I don't know that for sure. This medication might just knock it out. He might feel good for two months without any issues at all. I can't answer that."
In other words, Avila doesn't sound like he'll be on a schedule. Instead, Leyland and the medical staff will most likely go by how he feels.
Berry continues to impress Tigers
ARLINGTON -- Tigers manager Jim Leyland has said more than once that the club's been riding a hot bat with Quintin Berry. On Tuesday, five weeks after the Tigers called up Berry to fill in for then-injured Austin Jackson, Leyland subtly went beyond the hot start.
"So far, this has been a great story. This is a kid that waited a long time, and I think it's a perfect case of a guy that's getting an opportunity [who's] taken advantage of it. That's what you like to see. He's been a nice spark for us. He's done a heckuva job.
"We're a little different-looking team when he plays good. We're normally not a very fast team. That gives us a little different look with him and Austin up top. I think it's simple: He got an opportunity, and up to this point, he's taken advantage of it pretty good."
Berry continues to get the opportunity. Tuesday marked his eighth start in a corner-outfield spot in the last nine games.