Tigers bring back catcher Alex Avila with $2m deal

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

Alex Avila got a present of sorts, in­di­rectly from his fa­ther, and will host a cel­e­bra­tion this week­end with his fam­ily mi­nus any po­ten­tial base­ball-re­lated drama.

The Detroit Tigers brought back Avila to play be­hind start­ing catcher James McCann, giv­ing him a $2 mil­lion, oneyear con­tract.

Avila’s fa­ther, Al Avila, is Detroit’s gen­eral man­ager. “I don’t think he was even part of ne­go­ti­a­tions,” the younger Avila told The As­so­ci­ated Press on Fri­day night. Alex Avila spent this year with the Chicago White Sox, then be­came a free agent for the sec­ond straight off­sea­son. Avila said the deal came to­gether be­tween his agent, Matt Laird, and as­sis­tant gen­eral man­ager John Westhoff.

“Westhoff con­tacted my agent and ex­pressed an in­ter­est and the last few days, I haven’t re­ally slept much be­cause I’m so ex­cited,” he said. “I’m sure my dad was in­volved at some point. Now that it’s done, I talked to him and we’ll be to­gether at my house in Florida this week­end. And, we’ll have some­thing other than Christ­mas to cel­e­brate.”

Al Avila let his son get away as a free agent last year, and now the or­ga­ni­za­tion he leads is putting him back on the ros­ter. The Tigers des­ig­nated right-han­der An­gel Nes­bitt for as­sign­ment to clear a spot.

Detroit drafted Avila in 2008 and he hit .242 with 66 homers and 282 RBIs with the Tigers from 2009-15. Avila had ca­reer highs in 2011 with a .295 bat­ting av­er­age, 19 homers and 82 RBIs, earn­ing his only All-Star se­lec­tion.

“Alex is a left-handed hit­ter who has some pop in his bat,” Detroit man­ager Brad Aus­mus said. “We like his abil­ity to catch and throw, his fa­mil­iar­ity with the or­ga­ni­za­tion and his lead­er­ship qual­i­ties, which makes him an as­set to the ball­club.”

The 29-year-old Avila played in 57 games for the Chicago White Sox this year, hit­ting .213 with seven homers and 11 RBIs.

“I’ll be back­ing up James and do­ing what­ever I can to help the team win,” he said. “I might even play some first place to give Miguel (Cabr­era) a break and I’ll catch when­ever Brad wants me to catch. I love Detroit and I’m re­ally ex­cited to be in that club­house and play­ing with those guys again.” —AP

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