UPDATE: Daniel Bard’s missing friend found alive, unharmed

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SATURDAY: Red Sox setup man Daniel Bard asked reporters today for their assistance in spreading the word in an effort to find his childhood friend Matt Hill, who was last seen in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday.

A Facebook page, Find Matt Hill, has been set up with the details.

The 26-year-old Hill, a groomsman in Bard’s wedding, grew up with Bard in North Carolina.  Bard called his disappearance “extremely out of character.”

Police are also searching for Hill’s car, a 1996 black Honda CX with a D.C. license plate: DT-2747.

UPDATE: Matt Hill has been found alive and unharmed. He “left under his own volition,” according to the Find Matt Hill official Twitter account.

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.