AlexAvilaCatcherJason Beck reported on Tuesday evening that Alex Avila injured his left patella tendon during Monday night’s loss to the Seattle Mariners. Avila, who suffered from soreness in both knees at the end of last season, implied that playing through the pain wouldn’t risk further injury.

“I can’t do anything more to it,” Avila said. “It’s just a pain tolerance issue. It’s not going to require surgery or anything like that.”

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So Gerald Laird, who caught in his stead last night (and got a hit!), will probably be getting more than his usual share of work in the coming days or weeks. It’s tough to have to see Avila sit out while the team is struggling on offense, but I’m sure Jim Leyland (rightly) figures that it’s more important that he gets healthy and remains pain-free for the stretch run.

But there’s another interesting aspect to this story. According to both Leyland and Avila, Alex kept the injury (and the increasing pain) to himself during Monday’s game instead of reporting it to either the skipper or athletic trainer Kevin Rand. I’m almost certain that Leyland would have lifted Avila from the game if he knew he was hurting, and I can’t help but think a healthy Gerald Laird would have been better equipped to handle Octavio Dotel’s wildness (one wild pitch was charged as a passed ball against Avila).

Would Monday’s game have ended differently if Avila had told someone he was hurting? It’s impossible to know for sure, and either way Avila is still probably far down the blame ladder for that one, but there’s no way it could have been worse.

We already found out that Daniel Schlereth was hiding an injury while pitching (horribly) for the big club earlier this year. I’m not going to shout and scream that there’s some sort of injury cover-up problem for the Tigers, but this isn’t how professionals should act. The players need to be a man and tell someone when they’re hurt. At the very least it allows the manager to make a proper decision.

Matt Snyder is the editor of The Tigers Den. He can be reached on Twitter @snyder_matthew.