Alex Avila sits out rehab game after experiencing headache


Alex Avila began a minor league rehab assignment Thursday with Triple-A Toledo after being sidelined due to a concussion, but his return to the Tigers is temporarily on hold.

According to Chris Iseman of, Tigers manager Jim Leyland said that Avila had to make an early exit from his first rehab game due to a headache. The 26-year-old went 0-for-2 with a walk and caught three innings before exiting. He didn’t have any symptoms yesterday, but was held out of action as a precaution. The hope is that he could be able to serve as the DH today.

“You just take it slow for a day and then see how it plays out, and we’ll get him back into action,” Leyland said.

Avila is batting just .198/.288/.340 with nine home runs and 36 RBI over 73 games this season, though he was showing some signs of a turnaround prior to his concussion. While Brayan Pena and Bryan Holaday have done most of the catching during his absence, Victor Martinez made his first start behind the plate in two years last night.

Chris Sale will start on Opening Day for Red Sox

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No surprise here: Chris Sale will start on Opening Day for the Red Sox, Pete Abraham of The Boston Globe reports. The Red Sox open the season on March 29 in Tampa Bay against the Rays. Sale will oppose Chris Archer.

Sale, 28, is the fifth different Opening Day starter the Red Sox have had in as many years, preceded by Rick Porcello, David Price, Clay Buchholz, and Jon Lester. Sale started on Opening Day for the White Sox in 2013, ’14, and ’16.

Sale finished second in AL Cy Young Award balloting last year and finished ninth for AL MVP. He went 17-8 with a 2.90 ERA and a 308/43 K/BB ratio in 214 1/3 innings. Sale and Clayton Kershaw (2015) are the only pitchers to strike out 300 or more batters in a season dating back to 2003.