Diamondbacks catcher Alex Avila exited the team’s game Thursday with a left calf strain, Zach Buchanan of The Athletic reports. Avila will go for an MRI, but he told Buchanan, “It will cost me some time.”
The 32-year-old Avila already missed more than a month earlier this season because of a strained left quad. When healthy, though, the soon-to-be free agent has enjoyed a productive season for the playoff-contending Diamondbacks. Avila, who hit his fifth home run of the year Thursday, has slashed .220/.410/.508 (135 wRC+) with a sky-high 23.1 percent walk rate through 78 plate appearances. Almost all of the lefty-swinging Avila’s trips to the plate have come against right-handed pitchers, as he has struggled versus southpaws throughout his career.
Although it’s a small sample of work, Avila has earned solid defensive marks and continued to throw out base stealers at a high clip (3 of 5) this season. The all-around package is one the Diamondbacks will miss if Avila has to return to the IL.
Primary catcher Carson Kelly – acquired in last winter’s Paul Goldschmidt trade with the Cardinals – has been a bright spot for the D-backs, but right-handed pitchers have manhandled him. He’ll continue to get the majority of reps, though, with either Caleb Joseph or John Ryan Murphy likely to come up from Triple-A Reno to grab Avila’s roster spot. Joseph is already on Arizona’s 40-man roster, while the team outrighted Murphy off it June 1.