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 Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reports that the Mets and free agent reliever Brad Brach have agreed on a one-year deal worth $850,000. The contract includes a player option for the 2021 season with a base salary of $1.25 million and additional performance incentives.
Brach, 33, signed as a free agent with the Cubs this past February. After posting an ugly 6.13 ERA over 39 2/3 innings, the Cubs released him in early August. The Mets picked him up shortly thereafter. Brach’s performance improved, limiting opposing hitters to six runs on 15 hits and three walks with 15 strikeouts in 14 2/3 innings through the end of the season.
While Brach will add some much-needed depth to the Mets’ bullpen, his walk rate has been going in the wrong direction for the last three seasons. It went from eight percent in 2016 to 9.5, 9.7, and 12.8 percent from 2017-19. Needless to say the Mets are hoping that trend starts heading in the other direction next season.