Mets back at .500 mark for first time since April 9

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The Mets might not be contenders come July, but we can at least hold off on the fire sale talk for a few days. With a 2-1 win over the Yankees last night, the Mets are back at the .500 mark (22-22) for the first time since April 9.

R.A. Dickey, who entered the night with a 5.08 ERA, tossed six innings of one-run ball for his first win since his first start of the season. Justin Turner continued his hot hitting by going 3-for-4 with an RBI double while Daniel Murphy put the Mets ahead with a solo shot in the sixth inning. Francisco Rodriguez pitched for the third straight day and converted his 15th consecutive save.

The Mets were 5-13 as recently as April 20, but have won 17 out of their last 26 games. Yes, they have had some surprising contributions from the likes of the Jason Pridie and the aforementioned Justin Turner, but the big key has been the pitching staff. They have an impressive 2.89 ERA since April 20.

Sure, many still wonder when Sandy Alderson will take a hammer to the roster or how the club will find a way to avoid K-Rod’s vesting option, but the team’s recent surge should put a stop to all that. At least for a little while. It’s depressing, anyway. It’s time to enjoy the season for what it is.

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.