Ivan Nova was removed from Monday’s game in the sixth inning with a sprained right ankle.
Nova was hurt fielding a tapper near the mound and limped off the field afterwards. He was previously hit in the right foot by a Nick Markakis comebacker in the third, but the incident in the sixth was a new injury.
Nova was charged with five runs in 5 1/3 innings before departing. The Orioles snapped his 15-game winning streak by beating him 5-0 on May 2, but he won’t be involved in the decision tonight after leaving a 5-5 tie.
If Nova needs to miss his next start, Freddy Garcia, who has been relegated to mop-up duties since losing his rotation spot at the beginning of the month, could get the call in his place.
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.