GLENDALE, Ariz. — Alex Avila said his lower back stiffens every spring as his body adjusts once again to catching on a regular basis.
This latest round, which forced the White Sox catcher to exit Saturday’s 9-7 loss to the Cincinnati Reds early, is actually tamer than most. Avila — who said he felt his back grab during a third-inning at-bat — said he’s being cautious and isn’t overly concerned. Avila is listed as day to day with a sore lower back.
“Normally I get a little stiff back every spring training,” Avila said. “I’m a lot better. You see I’m standing up straight. Usually I’m hunched over for a week. But I didn’t want it to get to that point.”
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“Something I deal with every single year.”
Avila knows to expect a stiff back. The veteran said he has felt some stiffness over the past week and will re-evaluate on Sunday. But the soreness is part of breaking his body in after four months of being off — an aspect of the game that can’t be replicated in any workout.
“It’s like I’m breaking in my body to catch again,” Avila said. “Once I get over it, I normally don’t have any issues.”
White Sox manager Robin Ventura said the move is more about precaution than anything. At this point, Ventura doesn’t anticipate anything serious.
“He was walking around all right,” Ventura said. “It tightened up on him somewhat. Going through that game you’re not going to risk it.”
Even if he misses a few days, Avila has had plenty of time to accomplish what he needs. His body has felt good for all but the past few days as he has worked back into baseball shape. And Avila has caught every pitcher likely to make the team’s Opening Day roster.
“Spring has gone really smooth this year,” Avila said. “I mean, despite today for me physically, I feel really good. Usually I’m, when it comes to my back, I’m a little more hunched over. But everything has gone really smooth as far as catching the pitchers, getting to know those guys and forming those relationships.”