Alex Avila was held out of the starting lineup this afternoon against the White Sox after he hurt his jaw in a collision with teammate Prince Fielder during yesterday’s game, but the hope was that he wouldn’t have to miss much time after he passed a concussion test. However, Tigers manager Jim Leyland told Chris Iott of MLive.com after today’s game that Avila had a headache during batting practice and won’t return to the lineup until he’s back to 100 percent.
“He wasn’t going to play under any circumstances,” Tigers manager Jim Leyland said after his team’s 5-4 loss to the Chicago White Sox. “And I can’t tell you about tomorrow. That’s a real touchy one when you start messing with upstairs. I’ll have to feel 100 percent that he’s totally cleared before I play him.”
It’s not clear if Avila will be sent for more tests, but obviously the Tigers aren’t going to take any chances if the headaches continue. Gerald Laird started behind the plate this afternoon and went 1-for-3 with a run scored. Bryan Holaday, a September call-up, is the third catcher on the active roster.
Avila, 25, is batting .247/.355/.388 with eight home runs, 43 RBI and a .743 OPS in 107 games played this year. He has thrown out 31 percent (33 out 106) of attempted basestealers.
Dodgers’ left fielder Andrew Toles crushed his first spring training home run on Saturday afternoon. With the bases loaded and a two-run deficit hanging over their heads in the fourth inning, Toles stepped up to the plate against Oakland right-hander Jesse Hahn and unloaded a grand slam on the second pitch he saw.
Third baseman Justin Turner was quick to follow up with a solo jack of his own, bringing the score to a comfortable 7-4 lead by the end of the fourth. Another three-run outburst in the fifth and an eighth-inning RBI single by Austin Barnes raised the final score to 11-6… which, coincidentally, was the same score the Reds used to defeat the Athletics’ second split-squad lineup on Saturday (albeit with a few more RBI walks than grand slams).
Toles, 24, is approaching his sophomore season with the Dodgers in 2017. He slashed .314/.365/.505 with three home runs and an .870 OPS in his first major league season in 2016 and is expected to platoon with the right-handed Franklin Gutierrez in left field this year.
David Price showed “strength improvements” in his elbow on Saturday, but Red Sox’ manager John Farrell still doesn’t think the left-hander will be ready to throw by the start of the season — or for a few weeks afterward. According to ESPN’s Scott Lauber, the 31-year-old might not be ready to debut until May at the earliest.
Price hasn’t thrown off of a mound this spring after experiencing soreness in his left elbow on March 1. Surgery doesn’t appear to be necessary, but the Red Sox are playing it extra safe with their No. 3 starter in hopes that rest and rehabilitation will return him to full health sometime during the 2017 season. For now, Price has been restricted to short games of catch until he’s cleared to resume a more rigorous throwing program. Via MLB.com’s Ian Browne:
[There were] strength improvements to the point of putting the ball back in his hand a little more consistently,” said manager John Farrell. “Today’s the first step for that. A short game of catch. That’s what he’s going through. Not off a mound but just to get the arm moving with a ball in flight, and he will continue in this phase for a period of time. There’s no set distance and volume yet to the throws.
The lefty is coming off of a lackluster 2016 season, during which he delivered a 3.99 ERA, 2.0 BB/9 and 8.9 SO/9 over 230 innings for the Red Sox.