Alex Avila suffers concussion after being hit in head by backswing

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Tigers catcher Alex Avila was forced to leave last night’s game against the Red Sox in the eighth inning after he was hit in the head by David Ortiz’s backswing. You can watch the play here. According to Chris Iott of MLive.com, Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said after the game that Avila suffered what was termed as a “mild concussion.”

“Right now, we’re not really sure on the status,” Ausmus said. “They’re calling it a mild concussion, mild to the extent that they think he’ll be fine tomorrow. That being said, he won’t play tomorrow, regardless. But they do think he’s going to be fine tomorrow.”

Avila has had concussions in the past, including one which resulted in a stint on the 7-day disabled list last year, so the Tigers won’t take any chances. Bryan Holaday will fill in behind the plate for now.

Avila, 27, is batting .217/.341/.370 with four home runs and 13 RBI over 47 games this season.

2017 Preview: The American League Central

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For the past few weeks we’ve been previewing the 2017 season. Here, in handy one-stop-shopping form, is our package of previews from the American League Central

Do the Indians have a weakness? Do the Tigers and Royals have one more playoff push in them or do they have to start contemplating rebuilds? The White Sox and Twins are rebuilding, but do either of them have a chance to be remotely competitive?

As we sit here in March, the answers are “not really,” “possibly,” and “not a chance.” There are no games that count this March, however, so they’re just guesses. But educated ones! Here are the links to our guesses and our education for all of the clubs of the AL Central:

Cleveland Indians
Detroit Tigers
Kansas City Royals
Chicago White Sox
Minnesota Twins

2017 Preview: The National League East

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For the past few weeks we’ve been previewing the 2017 season. Here, in handy one-stop-shopping form, is our package of previews from the National League East

The Washington Nationals crave a playoff run that doesn’t end at the division series. The Mets crave a season in which they don’t have a press conference about an injured pitcher. The Marlins are trying to put the nightmare of the end of the 2016 behind them. The Phillies and Braves are hoping to move on from the “lose tons of games” phase of their rebuilds and move on to the “hey, these kids can play!” phase.

There is a ton of star power in the NL East — Harper, Scherzer, Cespedes, Syndergaard, Stanton, Freeman — some great young talent on ever roster and, in Ichiro and Bartolo, the two oldest players in the game. Maybe the division can’t lay claim to the best team in baseball, but there will certainly be some interesting baseball in the division.

Here’s how each team breaks down:

Washington Nationals
New York Mets
Miami Marlins
Philadelphia Phillies
Atlanta Braves