Alex Avila begins rehab assignment for concussion

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Alex Avila has been sidelined since suffering a concussion on August 10, but the Tigers catcher was cleared to begin a minor-league rehab assignment last night.

Avila went 0-for-2 with a walk at Triple-A, spending three innings behind the plate. His early exit was planned, although three innings are fewer than expected. Jason Beck of MLB.com reports that Avila will be back at catcher tonight for Toledo.

Avila is part of a disturbing number of catchers to spend time on the concussion DL during the past month. In his absence the Tigers have turned to Brayan Pena and rookie Bryan Holaday at catcher. Holaday hit his first career homer yesterday versus Minnesota.

Orioles “have begun fielding calls of interest” on Manny Machado

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Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports Thursday that the Orioles “are said to have begun fielding calls of interest” on superstar Manny Machado and “are close to the point of seriously weighing whether to trade him.”

You’d think it would be a no-brainer for the last-place O’s to flip Machado — an impending free agent — for prospects, but Heyman notes there is “still a question whether or not longtime Orioles owner Peter Angelos” will give the go-ahead. One person familiar with the situation put it a “50-50” likelihood. Another suggested that it would take a massive return, which, sure.

Machado entered play Thursday with a sensational .328/.405/.635 batting line, 15 home runs, and an MLB-leading 43 RBI in 49 games. It’d be a real shock if he’s still wearing an O’s uniform by the end of July.

Heyman reported previously that at least nine teams made aggressive plays for Machado this winter, including the Cubs, Phillies, Dodgers, Indians, Diamondbacks, Yankees, Red Sox, White Sox, and Cardinals. A whole lot of those teams still make sense here in late May — maybe all of them except the White Sox.