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.
It’s been one issue after the next for Indians reliever Andrew Miller, and on Saturday, the left-hander landed back on the 10-day disabled list with right knee inflammation. According to comments made by club manager Terry Francona, Miller’s knee has been a problem since the start of the year. The team has yet to determine a concrete timetable for his return to the bullpen.
Miller, 33, hasn’t looked like his usual sub-2.00 ERA, 2.0+ fWAR self this season, though he paired a 4.40 ERA and 6.3 BB/9 with an impressive 14.4 SO/9 across his first 14 1/3 innings. A left hamstring strain and minor back injury hampered his effectiveness on the mound, though this appears to be a more serious issue — especially given the five weeks he spent recovering from a tendon injury in his right knee last year.
In corresponding moves, the Indians designated right-hander Oliver Drake for assignment and recalled Triple-A right-handers Ben Taylor and Evan Marshall. Taylor, 25, was working on a 3.63 ERA, 1.0 BB/9 and 11.4 SO/9 through 17 1/3 innings in Triple-A Columbus, while 28-year-old Marshall turned in a terrific 0.77 ERA, 0.8 BB/9 and 6.9 SO/9 over his first 11 2/3 innings. Neither reliever has pitched more than a handful of innings at the big league level in 2018.