Alex Avila, who like many catchers has struggled with knee problems, got platelet-rich plasma injections in his left knee shortly after the season ended.
Platelet-rich plasma injections involve drawing blood from the arm, separating the platelets, and then re-injecting them to aid the healing process.
Avila was sidelined during the World Series with a wrist injury, but struggled with knee tendinitis throughout the season. Tony Paul of the Detroit News reports that manager Jim Leyland plans to keep a close eye on Avila’s playing time in 2013, but the Tigers “have determined surgery isn’t necessary, at least at this time” and Avila says he “feels great” right now.
New backup Brayan Pena isn’t as good a fit to platoon with the left-handed-hitting Avila as the right-handed-hitting Gerald Laird was, so Leyland may have to get creative.
MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick reports that the Dodgers plan to tab ace Clayton Kershaw for Game 1 of the World Series. Nothing is set in stone yet ahead of Tuesday’s Game 1 of the World Series. In the event Kershaw can’t start Game 1, Rich Hill would start. Otherwise, Hill would start Game 4.
Kershaw, started Game 1 and Game 5 of the NLCS against the Brewers, then closed out Game 7 with a flawless inning. He was hit around to the tune of five runs (four earned) over three-plus innings in Game 1, but rebounded for seven innings of one-run ball in Game 5. He struck out two en route to sending the Dodgers to the World Series in the ninth inning of Game 7.
Kershaw also tossed eight shutout innings against the Braves in Game 2 of the NLDS. Overall, he has a 2.37 ERA in 19 innings this postseason. There was no doubt who would be the Dodgers’ first choice to start Game 1, but it’s a relatively recent situation where the ace of a team also closed out the final game of the previous series.
Hill has put up a 2.61 ERA in 10 1/3 innings this postseason. While he doesn’t have Kershaw’s pedigree, the Dodgers would be confident having him lead off the series. Hill was excellent down the stretch last year, helping the Dodgers reach Game 7 of the World Series against the Astros.
The Red Sox plan to start Chris Sale in Game 1 now that he’s recovered from a brief stint in the hospital due to a stomach ailment. The lefty has a 3.48 in 10 1/3 innings in the playoffs this year. He’s among a handful of candidates for the AL Cy Young award after posting a 2.11 ERA in the regular season, but his lack of innings (158) may hurt him.