Cardinals manager Mike Matheny sent shivers through St. Louis earlier when he told reporters that something “developed today” with Allen Craig, who is out of tonight’s starting lineup against the Giants.
As it turns out, there’s no reason for concern.
According to B.J. Rains of FOX Sports Midwest, Cardinals GM John Mozeliak announced about an hour before first pitch Wednesday that Craig woke up with discomfort in his chest. But X-rays turned up negative and the slugger is expected to return to action for Thursday afternoon’s series-finale with San Francisco.
Craig initially felt the chest discomfort in mid-July after slamming into a railing at Cincinnati’s Great American Ball Park while chasing after a foul ball. He’s been able to play through the pain up to this point.
“The Wrench” homered twice on Tuesday and is batting .298/.362/.573 in 69 games played this year. Including the 2011 postseason, he has 32 homers and 106 RBI in his last 559 plate appearances.
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.