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.
The Rangers have signed catcher Jeff Mathis to a two-year contract, per Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. The deal is pending a physical.
Mathis turns 36 years old at the end of March and has a career .564 OPS across 14 seasons, but he is well-regarded for his defense and ability to handle a pitching staff.
The arrival of Mathis could mean the Rangers are moving on from Robinson Chirinos behind the plate, as he is now a free agent. The Rangers could go after another catcher to complement Mathis or just have Isiah Kiner-Falefa back up Mathis. Though Kiner-Falefa mostly played elsewhere, including three spots across the infield, he did rack up over 300 defensive innings behind the plate in 2018.