Avila went 1-for-2 with a walk and a solo home run in Friday's 4-1 win over Cleveland. Getting the start in place of Mitch Garver and hitting ninth, Avila took Mike Clevinger deep in the second inning for his first homer of the year. The 33-year-old backstop is hitting .333 (3-for-9) to begin the season, but that's unlikely to last -- his career batting average as he approaches his 1,000th big-league game is nearly 100 points lower.
Avila started at catcher and went 1-for-4 with a HBP in Sunday's win over the White Sox. Avila should get plenty of starts against right-handed pitchers as the Twins have said they still want to give Mitch Garver regular rest even with the shorter 60-game season.
Avila is expected to get steady playing time behind Mitch Garver as the Twins try to keep their catchers fresh, the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports. Avila, who is 0-for-10 with four walks at the plate so far this spring, may get more playing time than a normal backup catcher as a result. It's also possible Willians Astudillo could win a final bench role and give the Twins three catching options, which would cut into Avila's playing time. Either way, Avila isn't expected to get the playing time the left-handed part of a platoon at catcher would normally warrant.
Avila has agreed to a one-year, $4.25 million contract with Minnesota, Jeff Passan of ESPN.com reports. Avila should replace Jason Castro as the left-handed part of a platoon at catcher along with Mitch Garver. It's possible Garver gets more playing time this season after his 31-home run breakout season, but the Twins were careful to rest their catchers. Avila adds strong pitch framing skills to Minnesota's catcher corps. Avila's signing signals that Willians Astudillo will not win the outright backup job, but he could still be part of the mix.
Avila went 2-for-2 with a walk and a run scored in Thursday's 11-1 loss to the Mets. Avila picked up a spot start in place of primary catcher Carson Kelly. He's been in a slide the past month, having entered Thursday's contest batting just .122 (5-for-41) over his last 16 games.
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