Results tagged ‘ Alex Avila ’
It’s a formality, but still worth noting that the seven Tigers eligible for arbitration all filed on Tuesday. The list includes three members of rotation (Doug Fister, Max Scherzer, Rick Porcello), two members of the starting lineup (Alex Avila, Austin Jackson), lefty Phil Coke and outfielder Brennan Boesch.
Basically, what it means is that none of them have apparently reached deals yet to avoid arbitration. There’s still plenty of time for that, but the next big milepost in the process will come on Friday, when they’ll exchange arbitration figures with the team. That’s usually the step that gets both sides moving towards a deal, because it provides a range to use to find a middle ground. From there, the two sides have until at least Feb. 4 to negotiate before hearings begin taking place.
The Tigers have not had to go to an arbitration ruling since Dave Dombrowski took over as GM in 2002. They’ve come close a couple times, but usually they settle soon after the two sides exchange numbers.
Among the many injury updates Friday afternoon at Comerica Park was a very cautious report on Alex Avila, who just began doing baseball activities again today with batting practice and some early work.
Basically, manager Jim Leyland said, they’re trying to get an idea how far along he is, and how long he’s realistically going to be out.
“We’re evaluating him today as far as where his hamstring’s at, basically going by what he’s telling us, how he feels,” head athletic trainer Kevin Rand said Friday afternoon. “He’s going through agilities, he’s going to do some running today, going to swing the bat. He’s out there swinging the bat. … We’ll get a feel for him from an activity perspective today.”
What that means for his timetable is unclear.
“We like to shoot for Pittsburgh [next weekend],” Leyland about a return, “but I don’t know if that’s possible or not. A lot of positive stuff’s got to happen.”
Simply doing any baseball activity is a step up for Avila at this point. He spent the road trip watching them on TV.
“It’s been driving me crazy,” Avila said. “I definitely have more of an appreciation for Skip and the coaches to sit and watch. I was more nervous watching than playing.”
Alex Avila went on the 15-day disabled list Wednesday afternoon, and sounded Wednesday night like he doesn’t expect to be on the DL much longer than that. Asked how long he should need for recovery, Avila’s answer was pretty short.
“The doctor said 10-14 days,” he said.
The MRI exam taken after Tuesday’s game showed the injury was “a little bit worse than I thought it was,” Avila said, but still nothing worse than a strain. That’s huge news for the Tigers, who will have Bryan Holaday handling the duties behind the plate for the next few days until Gerald Laird can return.
Avila will not travel with the Tigers on their upcoming road trip to Cincinnati and Chicago.
“When you go on the DL you have no choice [but to sit and heal],” he said. “That’s the bottom line right there. You’ve got to take that time, get healthy and take it from there. In this game you’re going to play with injuries, and some nagging ones, but there are some that you just can’t play with. Obviously I’ve dealt with injuries and things like that the past few years, but some things don’t allow you to be productive or allow you to play at a level you can be proud of every day.”
Alex Avila’s return behind the plate was supposed to be the best news on the Tigers’ injury front. It lasted just five innings before his right hamstring tightened up again.
Now, the Tigers and Avila await the results of an MRI exam. Judging from a report out of Toledo from the Toledo Blade’s John Wagner late Tuesday night that Bryan Holaday is being called up, a report that another source confirmed, a stint on the disabled list appears to be imminent.
“I checked with him before the game,” Leyland said. “I try not to play guys if I’m suspicious. Maybe in the back of my mind I was a little bit suspicious, but when he came in here today I said ‘How are you doing?’ and he said, ‘I better be in the lineup,’ and I said, ‘Well, you’re in the lineup.’
“We found out it was probably a mistake on my part. If you want to blame somebody, blame me for that.”
Avila missed the previous two games over the weekend against the Yankees after waking up Saturday morning with a tight hamstring. He spent Monday’s off-day receiving treatment on the injury at Comerica Park and said he was ready to go.
One big reason Avila sat over the weekend was the worry that playing and tweaking the hamstring would cause a worse injury and a longer absence. This was pretty much the scenario that played out.
“I was hoping that, with the way I was feeling and the work I was doing, that I was going to be able to play, maybe not at 100 percent but enough to be fine,” Avila said. “It just wasn’t the case. Just got to figure it out.”
Avila threw out Shin-Soo Choo trying to advance to second on a pitch in the dirt to end the fifth inning, but was seen hobbling as he made his way back in the dugout. He promptly went down the tunnel towards the clubhouse.
Realistically, though, Avila said he’d been dealing with the tightness for most of the game.
“It was pretty tight, probably from the second inning on,” Avila said. “I started feeling it. It never really got loose. On that [throw], I really felt it pull and figured that right about there, I couldn’t really push it anymore.”
Gerald Laird, who also missed the previous two games with a tight right hamstring, replaced Avila to begin the sixth inning. The Tigers still have Omir Santos on the roster, so they’re not in an emergency scenario.
Still, they’re in a tough enough situation that Laird was trotting gingerly around the bases when he reached in the ninth inning.
“I just wanted to make sure I’m about it,” Laird said, pointing out that he wasn’t the potential tying run.
Holaday’s call-up will trigger a shuffle of the Tigers’ catching prospects, with highly-valued catching prospect Rob Brantly heading to Toledo. James McCann, last year’s top Tigers draft pick, is expected to take over at Erie after being called up from Class A Lakeland.
The Tigers, who have battled a rash of injuries over the last two weeks, had another from an unexpected player. Catcher Alex Avila left Thursday’s series finale against the Red Sox after taking a third-inning foul tip hard off his catching mask that busted up his nose.
Avila was pulled from the game for precautionary reasons, the Tigers announced later. An examination from doctors revealed no symptoms of a concussion.
Avila is known for taking a slew of foul tips and pitches off his body and enduring, earning him a reputation as one of the toughest catchers in the Majors. That toughness allowed him to catch 133 games last year, making him a fixture down the stretch after his backup, Victor Martinez, suffered a knee injury.
That said, Avila was clearly rattled when Ryan Sweeney fouled off a 96 mph fastball from Max Scherzer went up off Sweeney’s bat and into Avila’s mask before rolling.
Head athletic trainer Kevin Rand immediately attended to Avila as manager Jim Leyland joined him out from the dugout. A broadcast replay caught blood streaming down from Avila’s nose as Rand attended to him.
After a lengthy discussion, Avila walked off the field on his own power, with Rand and Leyland joining him. Avila’s backup, Gerald Laird, replaced him behind the plate.
Ironically, the Tigers called up a third catcher, Omir Santos, on Wednesday. He was brought up to allow Leyland to use one of his other catchers at designated hitter without worrying about what to do if his other catcher was injured. He didn’t envision this kind of scenario.
Alex Avila missed out on a Gold Glove award. He will gladly take a Silver Slugger instead. The Tigers, too, will take a win over Mike Napoli.
With a big first season as a full-time starting catcher, Avila took the mantle for the American League’s best offensive catcher from the oft-injured Joe Mauer. The All-Star beat out Napoli, Matt Wieters and others to earn the Silver Slugger award at his position, the only Tiger to do so this season.
Avila is the first Tiger to win the Silver Slugger at catcher since 2004, Ivan Rodriguez’s first season in Detroit. He’s the first catcher other than Mauer to win the honor since 2007, when Jorge Posada won it.
“To be considered the best offensive catcher is great,” Avila told MLB.com Wednesday night in a text message, “and it’s an achievement I’m very proud of.”
It wasn’t necessarily an easy decision for AL managers and coaches. Though Avila earned the All-Star start at catcher on his first-half roll, and never had the huge falloff that some might have expected, he also had to deal with catchers who heated up down the stretch. None got hotter than Napoli, who hit .383 with 18 home runs and 42 RBIs after the All-Star, including .429 with eight homers in September. Though Napoli made just 57 starts behind the plate, he played there more than he did at any other position.
Wieters, who beat out Avila for the Gold Glove as announced Tuesday night, also made his case based on power. He homered 12 times in August and September and posted an .840 OPS over the season’s second half.
In the end, though, nobody showed the consistency that Avila displayed, surprisingly so for a 24-year-old dealing with the wear and tear of more starts than any other AL catcher. He actually built on his first-half numbers by hitting for a higher average, near-identical slugging percentage and a higher OPS after the break.
Avila, ironically, is a friend of Napoli.
“We’re from the same area in south Florida,” Avila said, “and he had a great season, but it doesn’t make it any better. Being a Silver Slugger is pretty good on its own.”
Tiger catchers have won 10 of the 32 Silver Sluggers since the award began in 1980. Half of those went to Lance Parrish, who added a sixth as an Angel in 1990. Rodriguez, Mickey Tettleton and Matt Nokes also won at least one Silver Slugger in a Detroit uniform.
Detroit had three other realistic candidates for Silver Sluggers, but all lost out in what looked like crowded fields and tough decisions for managers and coaches. While reigning Silver Slugger first baseman Miguel Cabrera won a batting title with a late-season tear, it came too late to sway voters to choose him over Adrian Gonzalez.
Jhonny Peralta led all AL shortstops in batting average and OPS, but his former teammate in Cleveland, Asdrubal Cabrera, had the advantage in hits, RBIs and runs scored. That earned Cabrera the vote, making him the first Indian to win a Silver Slugger since Grady Sizemore in 2008 and the first Cleveland infielder since Hall of Famer Roberto Alomar in 2000.
Though designated hitter isn’t a defensive position, it’s a Silver Slugger award, and it pitted Victor Martinez against former Red Sox teammate David Ortiz this year. Martinez had the higher batting average, finishing fourth in the league at .330, but Ortiz had better run production numbers to win his fifth Silver Slugger at DH. Those two will likely have a similar competition going when AL media members vote for the outstanding DH award.
Austin Jackson’s Fielding Bible award in center field will have to do as the Tigers’ defensive honor for the season. Jackson and catcher Alex Avila were left winless when the Gold Glove awards were announced late Tuesday night.
Jackson and Avila were among three finalists listed at their respective positions by ESPN2 in a press release promoting the special on the network to announce the awards. But Avila lost out to Baltimore’s Matt Wieters, while Jackson finished behind Boston’s Jacoby Ellsbury.
Major League managers and coaches vote on Gold Glove honors.
While Avila’s day-in, day-out work earned him a good amount of respect, Wieters had the statistical advantage of fewer passed balls and wild pitches on his watch while throwing out a higher percentage of would-be basestealers. Ellsbury and Jackson were very comparable on traditional statistics, though Jackson had an impressive resume in more specialized stats.
Avila still has a chance at an end-of-season award. The Silver Slugger awards, which lean on the offensive side at each position, will be announced Wednesday night at 6pm ET on MLB Network. Avila and Mike Napoli both have solid cases at catcher, while first base should be an interesting debate between Miguel Cabrera, Adrian Gonzalez and Paul Konerko. Jhonny Peralta and his former Cleveland teammate Asdrubal Cabrera are candidates at shortstop.
For the first time that I can remember, the Gold Glove awards have a list of finalists, which not coincidentally sets up Tuesday night’s Gold Glove special on ESPN2. The side effect is that is sets up who has a realistic chance to win an award that doesn’t always follow the expected candidates.
In the Tigers’ case, they have two chances. Austin Jackson is one of three finalists for AL center field honors. Alex Avila is the same at AL catcher.
Because the outfield Gold Glove awards recognize center, left and right fielders separately, rather than three outfielders in general, Jackson has some of the toughest competition of any AL position. Jacoby Ellsbury and Peter Bourjos are two of the fastest men in the AL, and they use that speed to their advantage in center. Bourjos, in particular, showed a gift for running down drives into the gaps.
So, of course, did Jackson. And as the Fielding Bible awards suggest, he gets to way more balls than the average center fielder.
A day before the Gold Gloves are announced, ACTA sports came out with its annual honors to recognize the best Major League defender at each position in a given season. The Fielding Bible award in center field went to Jackson.
Unlike Gold Gloves, which are voted on by Major League coaches, the Fielding Bible award weigh heavily towards advanced defensive stats. Winners are decided by a 10-person panel that includes Fielding Bible co-author John Dewan, statistical analysis pioneer Bill James, MLB Network great Peter Gammons, acclaimed columnist and author Joe Posnanski, and former Major League outfielder Doug Glanville.
In the latest release of the Bill James Handbook, Dewan wrote that Jackson’s advantage was in the stats.
“He topped all center fielders with 21 Runs Saved in 2010, but Austin Jackson had to do it even better (with 22 Runs Saved) in 2011 to earn his first Fielding Bible Award,” Dewan wrote. “Jackson has made 63 more plays than an average center fielder over the last two years. That’s an incredible total. It’s on the plays over his head that AJ really excels (43 of the 63). Making 43 more catches than an average center fielder on balls hit deep is where those lofty Runs Saved totals come in, as he is saving doubles and triples when he makes these catches.”
Jackson got as many first-place votes (three) as Arizona’s Chris Young, but the difference was the five second-place votes he received, compared with just two for Young. The only vote that put Jackson outside the top three was something called the Tango Fan Poll.
Avila finished eighth in voting among Major League catchers, a category won by Matt Wieters. Not coincidentally, he’s one of Avila’s fellow finalists for the AL Gold Glove, along with A.J. Pierzynski (???). Avila threw out just under a third of would-be basestealers (40-for-125) while posting a .995 fielding percentage (five errors in 1,018 total chances). He was charged with seven passed balls, and Tigers pitchers threw 56 wild pitches with him behind the plate.
Wieters threw out 34-of-92 would-be basestealers, allowed one passed ball, and watched his pitchers deliver 25 wild pitches.
Among those left out among Gold Glove finalists was Jhonny Peralta, who statistically had a very underrated season at shortstop. But so was Texas’ Elvis Andrus. Erick Aybar, Asdrubal Cabrera and J.J. Hardy are the three finalists, though Peralta statistically had a pretty good case for a better defensive season than Cabrera.
The first end-of-season test for Justin Verlander’s MVP candidacy comes out Friday, when Sporting News names its MLB Player of the Year. On Thursday, though, he received the more obvious honor of the starting pitching spot on the magazine’s AL All-Star team. He was the only unanimous selection on the AL side, according to the article on the Sporting News website.
Voting took place among 289 players, 23 managers and 55 Major League executives, so getting a unanimous selection isn’t easy. Matt Kemp was the only one to get it on the NL side, which means somebody didn’t vote for Clayton Kershaw despite his lofty stats.
Alex Avila also made the AL team at catcher. Somewhat surprisingly, Miguel Cabrera didn’t get the nod at first base, losing out to Red Sox slugger Adrian Gonzalez. Keep in mind, though, that voting took place in September, with most ballots turned in before Cabrera went on his final-week tear and before the Red Sox collapse was complete.
Also surprising, as others have pointed out: Jose Valverde didn’t get the relief pitcher honor. That went to Mariano Rivera. Did the Big Potato’s save celebrations turn off some players around voting time, or did they go with the Hall of Famer?
Also, in less of a shocker but still intriguing, Jhonny Peralta lost out to his former teammate in Cleveland, Asdrubal Cabrera, for shortstop honors.
You had a feeling, didn’t you, that whenever the Tigers’ season ended, you would be hearing a more up-front report on all the Tigers’ injuries. And for the most part, we got that last night. Yet somehow, it wasn’t as bad as expected.
Alex Avila opened up a bit about the shape of his knees.
“I’ve had tendinitis building up in my [left] knee since July from a sprain that I had,” Avila said. “I felt I could continue to play with it, and I did. Without the rest, it just gets a little bit worse. And then, when I stepped on [Robinson] Cano’s foot [in the Division Series], everything kind of resurfaced after that.”
Playing through that, he said, brought on problems in the other knee, the right knee, because he was compensating. He underwent a cortisone shot during the playoffs that helped.
Surprisingly, though, he said that the team medical staff doesn’t think there’s anything that would require surgery.
“If there was anything structurally wrong,” he said, “I probably wouldn’t be able to catch. That was the reason why I kept playing, that I knew it couldn’t get any worse. I just had to deal with discomfort. Just get the MRI to make sure, and with rest, I’ll be good as new.”
As for Victor Martinez, manager Jim Leyland said he had “three or four things going on,” from the knee sprain in August to the toe injury that had to be drained to the intercostal strain. The only one that would seemingly be a major concern going into the offseason would be the knee, though we didn’t get any definitive word on that.
The injury you didn’t expect that we learned about last night was Miguel Cabrera. He injured his right shoulder when he tried to run over Mike Napoli at home plate in Game 4.
“It was all muscle,” Cabrera said, alleviating any concern he popped his shoulder out. It might have been more around the triceps.
Obviously, it didn’t affect him at the plate, where he closed out his season last night with a two-homer game, but he said he couldn’t throw. That explained why his warmups between innings were different.
He’s going to get it checked out, just to be on the safe side.
“I have to talk to a doctor,” Cabrera said. “They took good care of me with treatment. They did a good job.”