D'Backs looking to make Chase Field less hitter-friendly

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The Diamondbacks’ Chase Field is known as one of the most hitting-friendly ballparks in Major League Baseball with its short fences, massive center field batter’s eye and relatively high elevation. 

According to Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic, the D’Backs are looking at ways to change that.

From messing with the dimensions to raising fences and even installing a Coors Field-like humidor, the club is considering all options.

“We do know that it’s an issue,” Diamondbacks CEO Derrick Hall said Thursday. “The offense is unreal at
Chase Field. We have a launching pad now. We have a team that’s
hopefully going to be built around young pitching. We should look at
ways to reduce offense, especially from an opponents’ standpoint.”

The Reds play in a ballpark that lends itself to a lot of offense and have countered that by developing a well-rounded pitching staff.  Now they’re leading the National League Central and cursing toward their first playoff appearance since 1995. 

The Diamondbacks have not drafted well and have not made the right decisions in free agency, so instead they’re looking at other options.  Or excuses.  Whatever you want to call ’em.

Blue Jays release John Axford

John Axford
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The Blue Jays have released right-handed reliever John Axford from his minor league contract, per an announcement on Saturday. Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi speculates that the move could provide an avenue for the club to rework Axford’s contract, but the Blue Jays have yet to confirm or deny the report.

Axford, 35, was dealt a blow on Thursday after getting diagnosed with a stress reaction in the olecranon bone of his right elbow. Elbow soreness dogged the right-hander through much of his time in camp, and although he was scheduled for a follow-up examination later this spring, a definite return date had not been established.

Prior to the diagnosis, Axford was tabbed for a setup role with the team in 2019. He pitched to mixed results in 2018 (thanks in part to a late-season fracture of his right fibula) with a 5.27 ERA, 4.9 BB/9, and 9.8 SO/9 through 54 2/3 innings with the Blue Jays and Dodgers. Now, however, it’s not certain that he’ll return to the mound this season in any capacity.

Axford isn’t the only reliever the Blue Jays have lost to injury lately, either, as right-handers Ryan Tepera and Bud Norris have been sidelined with right elbow inflammation and forearm fatigue, respectively. Per Davidi, the Blue Jays offered Norris a $100,000 retention bonus to prevent him from opting out of the minor league contract he signed in February.