Tigers catcher Alex Avila decides against knee surgery; return timetable uncertain

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After seeking multiple opinions on his injured left knee Tigers catcher Alex Avila has decided against surgery, choosing the rest-and-rehab route instead.

Going under the knife would have knocked Avila out for at least the remainder of the first half, but there’s no guarantee he’ll be able to return before then now and it’s possible he won’t be able to return at all without eventual surgery to remove the “loose bodies” in his knee.

Avila made the All-Star team as a 24-year-old in 2011, but since then he’s hit just .228 with a .703 OPS in 364 games and his OPS has dropped in four straight seasons. James McCann will serve as the Tigers’ primary catcher in Avila’s absence.

Royals, Alex Gordon close to contract agreement

Alex Gordon
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MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan reports that the Royals and outfielder Alex Gordon are “getting close” to an agreement on a one-year contract. Terms of the deal aren’t yet known, but the Royals could make it official within the next few days.

Gordon, who turns 36 years old next month, hit .266/.345/.396 with 13 home runs and 76 RBI over 633 plate appearances with the Royals this past season. His offense has waned, owning an adjusted OPS of 84 since 2016 (100 is average), but he still plays decent defense.

Gordon has spent all 13 years of his major league career with the Royals. With the club in a rebuilding phase, he will serve as the clubhouse leader and be a mentor to younger players on the roster.