Good news for the Tigers, as catcher Alex Avila is back in the lineup for tonight’s series finale against the Red Sox.
Avila was diagnosed with a “mild concussion” after he was hit in the head by David Ortiz’s backswing during Friday’s game. While it was a concern given his history, he has passed the proper concussion protocol. The Tigers held him out of yesterday’s lineup as a precaution, but he’s ready to go tonight.
Avila, 27, is batting .217/.341/.370 with four home runs and 13 RBI over 47 games this season. The offense hasn’t been there, but he has thrown out 42 percent (21 out of 50) of attempted basestealers. Only Yadier Molina has been better among MLB catchers.
Roger Clemens will be an analyst for ESPN when the defending World Series champion Houston Astros host the Chicago White Sox on opening day.
Clemens made four appearances on last year’s KayRod Cast with Michael Kay and Alex Rodriguez. He will be stepping in on March 30 for David Cone, who will be doing the New York Yankees opener against the San Francisco Giants on YES Network.
“Roger has been sort of a friend of ours for the last year, so to speak, he’s in. He’s been engaged, knowledgeable and really present,” said ESPN Vice President of Production Phil Orlins. “You know, whatever past may be, he’s still tremendously engaged and he really brought that every time he was with us.”
Clemens was a seven-time Cy Young winner but his career after baseball has been tainted by allegations of performance-enhancing drug use. He is a Houston native and pitched for the Astros for three seasons.
Orlins said that with the rules changes and pitch clock, it is important to have a pitcher in the booth with Karl Ravech and Eduardo Perez.
“We don’t feel like we have to have the dynamic of Eduardo with a pitcher, but we certainly think that works. Throw in the added factor of rule changes and it is better to have a batter-pitcher perspective,” Orlins said.
Orlins did not say if this would open the door for future opportunities for Clemens as an ESPN analyst.