Alex Avila

Alex Avila dealing with headache after collision with Prince Fielder

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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.

Report: Astros remain in contact with the Athletics on Sonny Gray

OAKLAND, CA - AUGUST 06: Sonny Gray #54 of the Oakland Athletics pitches against the Chicago Cubs during the first inning at the Oakland Coliseum on August 6, 2016 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)
Jason O. Watson/Getty Images
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The Astros remain in contact with the Athletics on starting pitcher Sonny Gray, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports. The Astros have added Charlie Morton this offseason, but the club has been trying to add a big-name starting pitcher to put at the top of the rotation behind Dallas Keuchel.

Gray, 27, was limited to 22 starts in the 2016 season due to a forearm issue. His stats left a lot to be desired, as he finished with a 5-11 record, a 5.69 ERA, and a 94/42 K/BB ratio over 117 innings. Considering how Gray pitched in the previous three years, he’s a good bet to bounce back.

Gray is under team control through 2019, which is a big draw for the Astros. Needless to say, the Athletics would want a haul in terms of prospects. Gray will earn $3.575 million in 2017, having avoided arbitration in his first year of eligibility.

President Obama Welcomes the Cubs to the White House

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As we noted last week, The Chicago Cubs took the unusual step of not waiting until the summer after winning the World Series to make their customary White House visit to meet the president. They did it today, seeing President Obama a few short days before he leaves office.

Despite the fact that Obama is a White Sox fan, he met the Cubs with diplomacy and grace. It’s almost as if he’s been in that business for the past eight years. In return, he was given some gifts by the Cubs: Theo Epstein presented Obama with a No. 44 Cubs jersey, a tile from the center field scoreboard at Wrigley Field, and a lifetime pass to Wrigley as well.

Obama is staying in D.C. after he leaves office this week, hanging around so his daughter can finish high school in the same place she started. Even so, he’s likely going to be back to Chicago a good bit over the rest of his life, so he’ll likely be able to put the free pass to work. Assuming it comes with, like, six companion passes for his Secret Service detail.