We haven’t heard much about Evan Longoria since he felt some discomfort in his partially torn left hamstring last week and was pulled off his minor league rehab assignment. But that’s because there’s just not much to report.
Rays manager Joe Maddon broke the silence earlier this evening in some comments to Roger Mooney of the Tampa Tribune, but he had little to offer regarding a potential timeline for his star third baseman’s return.
Yikes. Reading between the lines here, it’s fair to say his absence will stretch well into the second half.
Longoria has now been sidelined for almost exactly two months. The Rays are 25-27 during his absence and entered tonight’s action at 40-35 on the year, 6 1/2 games behind the first-place Yankees in the American League East.
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.