Tigers’ Avila to try new mask this season

Because Alex Avila has had multiple concussions in his career, there were some who believed he might have to retire.

Brad Rempel

TOLEDO, OHIO — Tigers catcher Alex Avila will have a new look this season.

Before their appearance in Toledo with Mud Hens fans, manager Brad Ausmus said that Avila will wear a hockey-style catcher’s mask this season.

"I tried it my very first spring training in a bullpen one time," Avila said. "I didn’t give it much of a chance. I’m very traditional. When I started catching, I first used the two-piece, the regular mask and helmet. That’s just what I wanted to use. I never really thought how much of a difference it would make as far as kind of withstanding those impacts from the ball. But you live and you learn."

Avila, who turns 28 next week, suffered a concussion in Game 3 of the ALDS when he was hit by a foul tip.

Avila had also missed six games in September with a concussion due to taking a foul ball off the mask.

Avila said he took a few days off to rest and relax after the season and then was cleared by doctors for all activity.

Because Avila has had multiple concussions in his career, there were some who believed he might have to retire.

But Avila didn’t think so.

"Never," Avila said. "A lot of people talked about that because that was their own opinions, people talking about that, not knowing everything about the situation. But that’s never crossed my mind."

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