Brett Anderson is starting to make real progress.
According to Jane Lee of MLB.com, the Oakland left-hander threw off a mound on Saturday afternoon for the first time since undergoing Tommy John reconstructive elbow surgery last July. He threw a total of 20 pitches — all fastballs — without feeling any sort of abnormal pain or discomfort in his arm.
“Quick, efficient, command was there,” A’s manager Bob Melvin told Lee in a short review of the workout.
Anderson is aiming to join the Athletics’ starting rotation at some point in August. The 24-year-old owns a solid 3.66 ERA and 1.27 WHIP in 371 career major-league innings. He was limited to 13 starts in 2011.
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.