BOSTON - After Game 5 of the ALCS, Tigers manager Jim Leyland described Alex Avila's left knee as "pretty rough, pretty bad.''

Avila left Thursday night's game in the fifth inning with a strained tendon in his left knee. But two days later, there he was, back behind the plate for Game 6.

"I just left him in the trainer's room 10 minutes ago,'' Leyland said Saturday, a little more than four hours before first pitch. "He's ready to go. He feels pretty good.''

Avila certainly could not say that Thursday after getting run over on a play at the plate by David Ross in the second inning.

 

Adjusting fineHaving already become the youngest Red Sox player to start a postseason game since Babe Ruth in 1916, Xander Bogaerts, 21, again started at third in place of Will Middlebrooks in Game 6.

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"It's been really fun to see, actually,'' Red Sox manager John Farrell said of Bogaerts' apparent lack of nervousness. "The smile on his face never goes away. There's never the look on his face, there's no deer in the headlights, any kind of those descriptions you might come up with. He's a very mature and poised young man.''

 

Drew still inStephen Drew has had a miserable postseason, but Farrell said he hasn't thought about sending him to the bench. "There's been a lot of calling for Stephen's head, seemingly, but he's a very good player,'' Farrell said.

Drew, 3-for-32 in the postseason, including 1-for-17 in the first five ALCS games, has provided a solid glove. "In these games, defense is a premium,'' Farrell said. "And when a defensive play hasn't been made and you give a team an extra out, as good as these two teams are, you're likely going to pay for that.''