Avila goes full-throttle on rehab work

Chris McCosky
The Detroit News

Detroit — Catcher Alex Avila was driving balls into the seats in left field and left center during early batting practice before the game Tuesday.

"He looks good," manager Brad Ausmus said. "He's swinging it really good."

Avila, on the disabled list with a left knee injury, has accelerated his rehab process after having to shut things down last week.

"This is a big week for me," he said. "Everything feels good right now."

Ausmus said Avila is expected to throw to bases from the squat position in Cincinnati Wednesday and Thursday.

"If that goes well, he might catch some bullpens when we get to New York (Friday)," he said.

Avila has been out since May 8.

"We miss him," Ausmus said. "We miss his left-handed bat in the lineup and we miss his experience behind the plate."

Heating up

J.D. Martinez took a three-game home run streak and a nine-game hitting streak into the game Tuesday.

"His swing kind of came and went the first month of the season," Ausmus said. "He was swinging it real well through spring training. Once the season started it was good, then it wasn't good.

"He's found a groove since the Chicago series."

He found his groove with a little help from Miguel Cabrera.

"Miggy told me to have a little more rhythm," Martinez said after he homered against the White Sox in Chicago on June 7. "Something as small as that. And I started to think more about the rhythm than my mechanics and just let my body do what it does."

In the last seven games, Martinez is hitting .417 (10 for 24) with four homers and 11 RBIs. His OPS over that span is 1.420.

V-Mart plan

Victor Martinez, in the second game of his rehab assignment with Toledo, batted left-handed four times against Syracuse Monday night. He had two hits and an RBI.

"He said he felt good," Ausmus said. "He hit the balls hard."

Ausmus said the plan was for Martinez to play Tuesday and Wednesday night in Syracuse and meet the Tigers in New York on Friday.

"He's meeting us in New York; whether he's activated or not is another issue," Ausmus said. "We have to see how he feels and whether or not he is ready."

Hacked off

Ausmus was asked what he thought about the allegations against the St. Louis Cardinals that they hacked into the computer database of the Houston Astros.

"That one is certainly off the reservation a little bit," he said. "I don't know the facts, other than what's been reported, and we all know what's being reported isn't necessarily the facts. It's a little surprising that in the world of baseball something like that could ever arise, but I don't know the details."

Just to be on the safe side, though, Ausmus said he was changing the passcode on his iPad.

Around the horn

Ausmus confirmed what was suspected: Yoenis Cespedes was late getting onto the field in the third inning because of an extended bathroom break. "I was aware of where he was and I knew he'd make it back," he said. Although, he also had Andrew Romine getting ready to go into left field — just in case.

... The Reds Tuesday optioned former Tiger Brennan Boesch to Triple A Louisville. Boesch went 0-for-3 against the Tigers on Monday. The Reds also called up two pitchers from Louisville — right-hander Carlos Contreras and right-hander Donovan Hand.

Chris McCosky on Twitter @cmccosky