Alex Avila is back in the Tigers’ lineup

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Alex Avila is tough. The guy gets beat up like crazy back behind the plate. I think he takes more foul tips, bats, and general abuse than any catcher I can remember watching on a regular basis. Just the other day he took a ball off the mask and had to have a concussion test. Not only did he not wind up with a concussion but he ended up only missing one single game:

In other Tigers catcher news, backup Brayan Pena has lately spent all of his time on Twitter talking about his “nerts,” which is how he refers to his nipples. I wish I was kidding. I wish I didn’t know that, but those are the sorts of things you learn when you live with a Tigers fan.

Anyway, Pena has taken it next level, to where he is now posting pictures of his son in the bathtub, wearing a gold chain, and raving about his “nerts” too.

 

I feel like Pena would be a fun guy to hang around for a while. But just a for a while.

Mets sign Matt Purke to minors deal

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The Mets signed left-hander Matt Purke to a minor league deal, the team announced Friday. Purke will also receive an invitation to spring training, where he could presumably beef up the club’s left-handed relief options alongside Jerry Blevins and Josh Smoker.

Purke has not appeared in the majors since 2016, when he was used in a dozen relief appearances by the White Sox. The 27-year-old racked up a 5.50 ERA, 6.0 BB/9 and 7.5 SO/9 in his first 18 innings with the team, and was demoted to Triple-A Charlotte in June to finish out the season. He spent the entire 2017 season in Triple-A as well, showing more promise with a 3.84 ERA, 3.8 BB/9 and 11.0 SO/9 in 48 appearances.

While Purke may not amount to much more than a depth piece in New York’s ‘pen, the veteran lefty figures to be part of the Mets’ new bullpen-first strategy next year. Reports from MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo indicate that the club will be focusing on improving their relief options in order to ease the workload of their starting pitchers, and will likely add a few more arms before the offseason comes to a close.