Veteran reliever John Axford has left Rockies camp after his 2-year-old son was bit by a rattlesnake while staying at the family’s rental home in Arizona.
Nick Groke of the Denver Post reports that Axford’s son, Jameson Axford, was bit twice on the right foot and taken to a Phoenix hospital in serious condition. He was given anti-venom medication and is now in stable condition, but it’s possible he may need toes amputated.
Axford described the experience as “sheer panic … things got very bad, very quickly” and is unsure when he’ll return to the team on a full-time basis. He was added to the 40-man roster earlier this month and guaranteed a $2.6 million salary as part of the bullpen.
Free agent right-hander Chris Tillman is narrowing his pool of potential suitors, per Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports. Returning to the Orioles is one option, of course, but Heyman also mentions another two undisclosed teams who are still in the running. An earlier report from Eduardo Encina of the Baltimore Sun suggests that as many as four teams may be in the mix; either way, a final decision is expected by Monday.
Tillman, 29, has spent the entirety of his major league career in Baltimore. After posting career-high numbers in 2016, his progress was derailed during an injury-plagued 2017 campaign, during which he missed nearly six weeks on the disabled list with recurring right shoulder inflammation. He finished the season with a bloated 7.84 ERA, 2.3 BB/9 and 4.9 SO/9 over 93 innings.
While the mystery teams have yet to reveal themselves, the Blue Jays, Twins and Tigers have all expressed interest in the veteran right-hander this offseason. Both the Blue Jays and Twins have made big moves to bolster their rotations over the last few days, with the additions of Jaime Garcia and Jake Odorizzi, respectively. That doesn’t mean that Tillman is out of reach, however — if his price is right, he could provide some much-needed depth for pitching staffs that finished 15th and 22nd in the league last year.