When the Tigers placed Doug Fister on the disabled list with a costochondral strain both Fister and the team trainer said they thought he’d avoid the month-long absence that was needed when he had the same injury earlier in the season.
That may prove accurate, but in the meantime Fister won’t be ready to return from the DL when eligible Wednesday. That doesn’t necessarily mean he’s suffered any kind of setback, but it does suggest a month-long absence is well within the realm of possibility.
Jason Beck of MLB.com reports that Fister tested his strained side muscle by throwing Saturday, but the right-hander was sore Sunday and will give it another try later this week.
Because of an off day on the schedule this week the Tigers can basically just skip Fister’s normal turn in the rotation, but Drew Smyly and the “mushier and mushier” blister from hell could further complicate things for Detroit’s banged-up starting staff.
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.