Alex Avila sits out rehab game after experiencing headache

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Alex Avila began a minor league rehab assignment Thursday with Triple-A Toledo after being sidelined due to a concussion, but his return to the Tigers is temporarily on hold.

According to Chris Iseman of MLB.com, Tigers manager Jim Leyland said that Avila had to make an early exit from his first rehab game due to a headache. The 26-year-old went 0-for-2 with a walk and caught three innings before exiting. He didn’t have any symptoms yesterday, but was held out of action as a precaution. The hope is that he could be able to serve as the DH today.

“You just take it slow for a day and then see how it plays out, and we’ll get him back into action,” Leyland said.

Avila is batting just .198/.288/.340 with nine home runs and 36 RBI over 73 games this season, though he was showing some signs of a turnaround prior to his concussion. While Brayan Pena and Bryan Holaday have done most of the catching during his absence, Victor Martinez made his first start behind the plate in two years last night.

José Ramirez’s 17-pitch at-bat kickstarts Indians’ five-run comeback in ninth inning

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With his team trailing 8-3 to begin the bottom of the ninth inning of Sunday’s game against the Astros, Indians third baseman José Ramirez eventually won a 17-pitch at-bat against closer Ken Giles, ripping a double off of the wall in right field. The Indians would go on to score five runs on seven hits to tie the game against Giles and Hector Rondon. Ramirez almost won the game in his second at-bat of the ninth inning, but first basebamn Yuli Gurriel made a terrific diving catch on a line drive otherwise headed for the right field corner.

Giants first baseman Brandon Belt set a new modern record for the longest at-bat last month, seeing 21 pitches against the Angels’ Jaime Barria. The Astros’ Ricky Gutierrez sfaw 20 pitches from the Indians’ Bartolo Colon on June 26, 1998, which was the previous record. Kevin Bass saw 19 pitches from the Phillies’ Steve Bedrosian in 1988. There have also been five 18-pitch at-bats from Brian Downing, Bip Roberts, Alex Cora, Adam Kennedy, and Marcus Semien.

Sunday’s game wound up going 14 innings. The Astros pulled ahead 9-8 in the top of the 13th on a solo home run from Evan Gattis. However, the Indians’ Yonder Alonso responded with a solo shot of his own in the bottom of the 13th to re-knot the game at 9-9. Greg Allen then lifted a walk-off solo homer in the bottom of the 14th to give the Indians a 10-9 win.

After Sunday’s effort, Ramirez is batting .292/.389/.605 with 15 home runs, 37 RBI, 34 runs scored, and seven stolen bases. According to FanGraphs, his 3.5 Wins Above Replacement ranks third across baseball behind Mike Trout (4.4) and Mookie Betts (4.1). They’re the only players at three wins or above.