Tigers catcher Alex Avila took a Steve Pearce foul ball off of his face mask at the beginning of the top of the sixth inning. He attempted to get back to his feet but appeared woozy. After briefly being tended to by a trainer, Avila left the ballgame and was replaced behind the plate by Bryan Holaday.
This is not exactly new for Avila. The 27-year-old catcher has suffered from concussions in each of the past two seasons, caused by foul balls and backswings to his helmet and facemask. Given what we know about concussions now, it’s nice to see the Tigers and Avila quickly opt to exercise caution.
The Giants announced on Thursday that the club inked pitcher Drew Smyly to a one-year contract. As Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area notes, the contract is of the major league variety.
Smyly, 30, split last season between the Rangers and Phillies with a stint with the Brewers in between. He did not appear in a major league game with the Brewers. In aggregate, Smyly posted a 6.24 ERA with 120 strikeouts and 55 walks over 114 innings.
Smyly will vie for a spot at the back of the Giants’ starting rotation. If he doesn’t make the cut, he could work out of the bullpen. Pitching in the spacious confines of Oracle Park should help Smyly, who gave up 19 homers in Texas and 13 in Philly last season in more hitter-friendly parks.