The Yankees will hold their 66th annual Old Timers Day on July 1, and they announced the invitees a little earlier today.
Many of the usual suspects, obviously: Yogi Berra, Reggie Jackson, Ron Guidry, Whitey Ford and Goose Gossage. Among the new faces: Sterling Hitchcock, Stump Merrill, Gene Monahan, Matt Nokes and Tanyon Sturtze. Yep. THE Tanyon Sturtze.
I kid, but that’s pretty cool. It would be pretty easy for the Yankeess to skew these sorts of events to only the past greats or those only associated with their many winning teams. But bringing in dudes like Nokes, Hitchcock and Sturtze suggests pretty strongly that the team, unlike the press that follows it, doesn’t differentiate between “true Yankees” and the rabble.
As far as the team is concerned, if you ever wore the pinstripes, you’re a Yankees Old Timer. And there’s something nice about that.
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.