GLENDALE, Ariz. — Catcher Alex Avila left the White Sox’ Cactus League game against the Cincinnati Reds Saturday with lower back stiffness. Nine days before Opening Night in Oakland, Avila might have enough time to heal but with only four days left in spring training, staying healthy is pretty much the only priority for the Sox.
Avila, 29, who was limited to 67 games with the Detroit Tigers in part because of knee problems, said he usually plays through back stiffness in the spring.
“Usually it’s a lot worse,’’ he said after coming out after the third inning. “Fortunately I’m not hunched over and really locked up.
“Just some stiffness. I don’t think it will be a very big deal.”
The left-handed hitting Avila, who is 1-for-17 this spring, struck out for the 12th time in his only at-bat (he has also walked seven times). Signed to a one-year, $2.5 million contract in the offseason, Avila is slated to split time with switch hitter Dioner Navarro behind the plate. Navarro signed a one-year, $4 million deal.
“He was walking around all right,” manager Robin Ventura said. “More precautionary at this point. It tightened up on him somewhat.”
Hector Sanchez, who is third on the Sox’ depth chart at catcher, replaced Avila, who is day-to-day.
“Yeah. Wake up tomorrow and see what it feels like,’’ Avila said.
Sox lost 9-7.