NEW YORK -- Tigers catcher Gerald Laird said his right elbow was feeling a lot better Wednesday after busting open a blood vessel on a Daniel Schlereth pitch in the dirt the night before. He's expected to be available if needed.

Laird said there was still some soreness in the area, which is still black and blue. However, the swelling is down significantly from Tuesday night, when he said it looked like a golf ball on the inside of his elbow. He has had blood vessels pop before, he said, but never this bad.

Alex Avila started behind the plate Wednesday against Yankees right-hander Dustin Moseley. With right-handers for the next couple days, Avila could remain in the lineup until Laird's soreness is down.

Boesch sits, working on tracking pitches

NEW YORK -- Brennan Boesch was out of the Tigers' lineup Wednesday night, and he was expected to be out of the lineup for Thursday afternoon's series finale. But that doesn't mean manager Jim Leyland has lost faith in his rookie slugger.

Leyland still sees Boesch as a big piece of the Tigers' present and especially the future. Right now, though, they need Boesch to see pitches better and react to them much better.

"I think he's lost his concentration a little bit," Leyland said Wednesday. "I spoke to him [Tuesday]. I didn't touch him up, but I just made a couple points: If you're swinging at 97 [mph] out of the strike zone, I can accept that. But if you're swinging at 89, 88 out of the strike zone, that's not totally acceptable. That just means you're just frustrated, and your concentration's probably not where it needs to be."

To that effect, Boesch has been working with hitting coach Lloyd McClendon on a drill that Leyland said he saw Mark McGwire do during his playing days. McClendon will throw him pitches, but Boesch won't swing. The idea, Leyland said, is for Boesch to track the ball to get an idea of where the strike zone is.

Another thing Boesch is getting out of it is to slow down his lower body and not jump at pitches to the point where he gets out of whack with his swing.

"You're ready to hit every pitch," Boesch said, "but when you're taking the ones that are balls with a smooth, nice-and-easy take, for me that's a pretty darn good indication of where my relaxation at the plate is at. If I feel like I'm trying to make up for maybe lost RBIs from the day before or whatever, I'll be a little hard on the front side and rushing.

"What it basically allows you to do is take that rushed lower half out of it. It's really hard to see the ball if you're rushing with your lower half. The smoother I am with my legs, the better I see the ball, the better swing I put on the ball, and everything takes care of itself."

Ordonez to undergo follow-up exam

NEW YORK -- Magglio Ordonez is scheduled to return to Detroit for a follow-up exam on his fractured right ankle, which should give a better idea how much longer he'll be out, or how realistic his return is for the stretch run.

Ordonez fractured his ankle July 24 on an awkward slide into home plate. The original timetable called for him to miss six to eight weeks, a timetable that head athletic trainer Kevin Rand said can't be accelerated due to the risk of further injury if the ankle hasn't fully healed. That was about three and a half weeks ago.

Team physician Dr. Stephen Lemos will examine Ordonez, who will have his cast removed. If his ankle looks good, it'll be placed in a walking boot and he'll be cleared for physical activity. Unable to work out, Ordonez has been at home with his family in Venezuela.

Considering his .326 career batting average and .895 OPS in September make it his second-best month, there's a definite benefit if the Tigers can get him back. They would have to close the gap in the American League Central without him to make it important to a playoff race, but his track record at least suggests he can make an impact.