After today’s loss to the Blue Jays, the Tigers activated catcher Alex Avila from the 15-day disabled list and sent fellow backstop Bryan Holaday back down to Triple-A Toledo.
Avila landed on the disabled list earlier this month after he suffered a left forearm contusion when he was hit by a pitch, but he was able to make it back in the minimum 15 days. The 26-year-old batted .242 (8-for-33) with one home run, two doubles, and a 10/2 K/BB ratio over eight rehab games in Triple-A.
Avila seemingly emerged as one of the best young catchers in the game when he batted .295/.389/.506 with 19 home runs and 82 RBI in 141 games in 2011, but he’s hitting just .222 with 14 home runs and a .682 OPS since.
The Red Sox and Mariners left nothing on the table Friday night, going head-to-head in a series opener that eventually ended 14-10 in the Sox’ favor. Led by Steven Wright and Wade LeBlanc — neither of whom made it past the fifth inning — the teams combined for 34 hits and four home runs, including two moonshots from Seattle’s Nelson Cruz and a five-run rally that gave Boston the edge in the seventh.
In the sixth inning, however, the Red Sox were still scrambling to make up a four-run deficit. Left fielder J.D. Martinez cut it in half with one swing, pouncing on an 89.5-mph fastball from Seattle right-hander Nick Vincent and posting it to dead center field for a two-run shot.
The 427-foot blast was Martinez’s 23rd of the season, tying Mike Trout for the most home runs in the league this year. While he still has a ways to go before eclipsing the career-best 45-HR mark he set in 2017, he’s off to a strong start this season: Entering Friday’s game, the 30-year-old slugger was batting .315/.386/.623 with a 1.009 OPS and AL-leading 55 RBI in 308 PA. He finished Friday’s game 4-for-5 with five RBI, just one triple shy of hitting for the cycle.
Heading into the All-Star Break, both Martinez and Trout still have some competition for the home run title. Jose Ramirez is sitting at 22 homers, while Nelson Cruz and Khris Davis are tied at 20 apiece.