Alex Avila, Hunter Pence Joining MLB Network's Playoff Baseball Coverage

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Alex Avila and Hunter Pence will join MLB Network as in-studio guest analysts this week, The Big Lead has learned. Avila, who played the final game of his 13-year Major League career this past weekend, will be on MLB Tonight Thursday and Friday, with an additional spot on MLB Central in-between. Pence, a two-time World Series champion with the San Francisco Giants, will be on MLB Tonight on Saturday and Sunday.

This continues a trend of players coming fresh off the field and into the studio for MLB Network, which has yielded a few success stories. Mark DeRosa, Carlos Peña, Mike Lowell and Chris Young have all used the opportunity to jump-start an extended run behind the desk. In addition to two American League Division Series games later this week, the network will have pre- and post-game coverage of every postseason contest.

"I'm honored they asked me," Avila told The Big Lead. "If there's one thing I can do it's talk baseball." The former catcher, who played for six different teams during his career, said he's always enjoyed his time working with the network and has maintained friendships with a few of the aforementioned players. 

It's something he's been eyeing for a few years as a second act and a few people have mentioned he'd be good at it if given a shot. 

"I'm looking forward to working with a new team and new teammates, to find another passion and feed off each other," Avila said. 

Coming straight off the field will allow him to know just how difficult the game is and how much the sport has changed recently. The unique perspective of a catcher could also prove valuable as it's an oft-unexplored angle.