Scott Feldman has been in and out of the Rangers’ rotation all season, but it looks like he’ll finish the year in the bullpen after a demotion there yesterday.
Ron Washington decided to make a change after Feldman coughed up six runs in just 2.2 innings against the Mariners on Saturday, so the Rangers will bump him to the bullpen while moving rookie Martin Perez into the rotation.
Perez made three starts for the Rangers earlier this season, allowing seven runs in 17 innings, and tossed 4.1 scoreless innings Saturday in relief of Feldman. He’s been considered one of the game’s top pitching prospects for the past 3-4 years, but Perez’s numbers in the minors this season weren’t particularly impressive and the Rangers are definitely taking a risk by relying on the 21-year-old.
On the other hand Feldman went 5-11 with a 5.52 ERA in 20 starts for a team that’s 87-59, so Perez won’t have to be great to represent a major upgrade.
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.