The other day I wrote that there are a lot of devoutly religious young ballplayers but we just don’t hear that much about them like we do Tim Tebow, in part because of the differences between the baseball news cycle and the football news cycle.
I still think that’s true, but over at the Los Angeles Times, Steve Dilbeck has a story about Clayton Kershaw and his faith that does suggest that personal temperament has a lot to do with it too. The upshot: Kershaw approaches his faith and his job in different ways than someone like Tebow does.
No, not shocking or controversial. And for my part it doesn’t mean that he does things better than Tim Tebow does or whatever. Religion is just something kind of foreign to me, and I find it interesting when its nature (as opposed to its substance) is discussed. And this is a timely and interesting article given what we were talking about here the other day, so there’s that.
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.