Matt Kemp is back playing center field and batting third for the Dodgers on Monday after taking a seat in Sunday’s loss to the Cubs. He’s been nursing a tight left hamstring.
Kemp did make an appearance Sunday to keep his consecutive games streak alive, flying out as a pinch-hitter. Tonight’s game will extend the streak to 393 games.
He talked about that on Sunday:
“The streak does mean something to me, to play every day, but still I don’t want to do something stupid to put my teammates in a situation where they lose me for one or two weeks,” he said. “It could be only one day and maybe this is the day and I can get back to play San Francisco. It feels weird watching the team play.”
Tony Gwynn Jr. went 0-for-3 in Kemp’s place Sunday as the Dodgers lost 4-3 to the Cubs.
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.