Giancarlo Stanton set to return Saturday, participate in All-Star Game festivities

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Good news for the Marlins. And, well, for those who were hoping to see Giancarlo Stanton hit some bombs next week at Kaufman Stadium in Kansas City.

According to Joe Capozzi of the Palm Beach Post, Stanton plans to return to the Marlins’ starting lineup tomorrow night against the Cardinals. The 22-year-old slugger has been sidelined since Monday due to right knee soreness, but he felt good after going through a 30-minute workout prior to tonight’s game.

Stanton will eventually need surgery to remove a loose body from his knee, but he hopes to put it off until the offseason.

“It just feels weird but it’s not restricting at the moment. Obviously it’s bouncing around in there. But I’ll play tomorrow,” he said.

“It has gotten better each day which I did not think it would.”

Assuming Stanton makes it through the weekend without any setbacks, he should be good to go for Monday’s Home Run Derby and Tuesday’s All-Star Game.

Blue Jays release John Axford

John Axford
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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.