DETROIT -- In September, the Tigers' leader in batting average and on-base percentage isn't a usual suspect.
Catcher Alex Avila leads the club with a .462 batting average and a .533 on-base percentage, and is 9-for-15 (.600) with three doubles, five runs scored and three RBIs over his last four starts entering Friday night's game against the Royals.
"He's definitely swinging better, there's no question about that," manager Jim Leyland said. "Hopefully, he can keep that going. That would be a big help for us down toward the bottom [of the batting order]."
It has been a tough year at the plate for Avila, but his 12 hits this month are the most he's had except for July (18) and April (13).
"[Against] right-handers in particular, we have Omar [Infante] and him down there swinging the bat good," Leyland said. "That really helps."
Tigers send D. Paulino to finish Astros deal
DETROIT -- The Tigers on Friday sent right-hander David Paulino to the Astros as the player to be named in the trade for Jose Veras on July 29. The 19-year-old Dominican is the younger brother of Detroit pitching prospect Brenny Paulino.
Like his brother, David Paulino has a big arm but has to work through a series of injuries, culminating with Tommy John surgery this summer. Before his latest injury, he was off to a solid start in the Rookie level Gulf Coast League, going 2-1 with a 2.70 ERA in four starts with 22 strikeouts in 20 innings. Paulino was hitting 97 mph with his fastball according to scouting reports.
It's a high-risk, high-reward pickup for the Astros, who received outfield prospect Danry Vasquez from the Tigers as the other part of Trade Deadline deal.
Since joining the Tigers, Veras had a 2.76 ERA in 18 appearances with two saves entering Friday night's game against the Royals. He had 12 strikeouts over 16 1/3 innings, and also has helped the bullpen with more than just his performance on the mound.
"He's done well," manager Jim Leyland said. "He's a veteran presence for us. He doesn't get too excited. I think that's been beneficial to us. We didn't have much experience down there as you know, so I think that's been a big help."
Miggy working on his craft with extra BP
DETROIT -- Miguel Cabrera has struggled in September, batting .136 with three singles and three RBIs in seven games. Prior to Friday night's game against the Royals, the Tigers slugger took extra batting practice, which is a good sign as he battles a groin injury.
Cabrera likely won't be 100 percent for the rest of the season after sustaining multiple injuries, but he says his groin has been the source of his pain lately. However, that won't stop him from playing.
"[In the] offseason I can rest," Cabrera said. "Right now, I've got to work."
Despite his recent troubles at the plate, there aren't too many people worried that Cabrera will turn it around.
"I think those four or five days off, his timing was off just a hair, but I saw signs in Chicago that it's close to right there," manager Jim Leyland said.
In his quest for a second Triple Crown, Cabrera leads the American League with a .349 batting average and 133 RBIs. He trails Baltimore's Chris Davis by six home runs (49 to 43).
Tigers celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month
DETROIT -- Although the Tigers hosted their eighth annual Fiesta Tigres celebration on Aug. 3., Hispanic Heritage Month begins on Sunday.
Tigers players with Hispanic heritage were honored on the field prior to Friday night's game against the Royals, while live mariachi, salsa, bachata, reggaeton, Cuban jazz and Mexican folklore music played throughout Comerica Park. There were also flags from Spanish-speaking countries hanging around the park.
The Tigers also wore jerseys that spelled "Tigres," and there was live music playing at all of the gates.
Individual playoff tickets go on sale Tuesday
DETROIT -- The Tigers will begin selling individual game tickets for potential home games during the American League Division Series on Tuesday at noon ET.
Tickets will only be available online at Tigers.com/tickets or by calling 866-66-TIGER. There is a limit of six tickets per customer, per game. Tickets will not be available through the Comerica Park box office.
•Manager Jim Leyland said he doesn't think there's any team, including the Tigers, in the American League that's home free for the playoffs. That doesn't mean, however, he will start worrying about the results of other teams.
"We've just got to take care of our own business," Leyland said. "Like I've said, I concern myself with the Tigers. That's not to say we don't know where the Royals are, or where Cleveland is or anything. I'm going to assure you, we know what's going on, but I just want my guys to play good and take care of our own business."
• Shortstop Jhonny Peralta fielded fly balls in left field before Friday's game, before shagging balls during batting practice with other Tigers outfielders.
Bobby Nightengale is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.