Detroit activated Alex Avila from the seven-day concussion disabled list after the catcher missed 16 days with a brain injury.
Avila caught seven innings and went 2-for-3 with two walks in a minor-league rehab game Monday at Triple-A to convince the Tigers he was ready to return. He experienced some post-concussions symptoms as recently as last Thursday, but was able to catch in back-to-back games since then.
Prior to the concussion Avila had been playing well in 15 games since the All-Star break, bouncing back from a miserable first half. He’s hitting .198 with with nine homers and a .628 OPS in 73 games overall.
Nationals starter Max Scherzer bunted a ball into his face during batting practice on Tuesday, breaking his nose in the process. He ended up with a gnarly looking shiner around his right eye, making him appear a bit like Terminator. Scherzer still took the ball to start the second game of Wednesday night’s doubleheader against the Phillies.
Despite the injury, Scherzer was incredibly effective, limiting the Phillies to four hits and two walks across seven shutout innings, striking out 10 batters in the process. He might even have had some extra adrenaline going, as he averaged 96.2 MPH on his fastball, his highest average fastball velocity in a game since September 2012, per MLB.com’s Jamal Collier. The Nationals provided Scherzer with just one run of support, coming on a Brian Dozier solo home run off of Jake Arrieta in the second inning, but it was enough.
Wander Suero worked a scoreless top of the eighth with a pair of strikeouts. Victor Robles added a solo homer off of Pat Neshek in the bottom half. Closer Sean Doolittle took over in the ninth, working a 1-2-3 frame to give the Nats their 2-0 victory.
Over his last six starts, Scherzer now has a 0.88 ERA with a 59/8 K/BB ratio across 41 innings. He has gone six innings, struck out at least nine batters, and held the opposition to two or fewer runs in each of those six starts.