Heath Bell continues to struggle

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Last night was a good night to stink because so much other stuff was happening. This is especially true if your team won.  And it’s especially true if the stat that says you stink — blown save — was given to another guy.  But don’t think you got away with this, Heath Bell, we were watching.  You screwed up again.

Bell was called into the ninth inning of the Marlins-Giants game with his team on top 2-0.  He then allowed two runs on three hits while failing to record an out.  He was bailed out of the blown save when Ozzie Guillen put in Steve Cishek to try to clean up Bell’s mess, but the Giants tying the game in the ninth was really Bell’s doing.  Giancarlo Stanton’s 10th inning homer salvaged things.

Bell now has an 11.74 ERA, has allowed 13 hits in seven and two-thirds innings and has blown four saves.  Lesser struggles caused Ozzie Guillen to move Jose Reyes down in the lineup.  Will he do something about the Marlins’ closer situation now?

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.