Mike Piazza’s guide to increasing one’s popularity in Los Angeles: slam Vin Scully

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More excerpts from Mike Piazza’s new book are out. Bill Shakin has the story here: Mike Piazza criticizing Vin Scully for turning the fans against him in L.A.

Piazza talks about his contract negotiations with the Dodgers prior to the 1998 season. In an interview with Scully, Piazza says Scully asked him about the deadline Piazza set for negotiations, which was the beginning of spring training. Shaikin on what Piazza wrote:

Piazza wrote that Scully asked him about the deadline in a spring interview. “He wasn’t happy about it,” Piazza wrote. “And Scully’s voice carried a great deal of authority in Los Angeles … Vin Scully was crushing me.”

Scully denies it:

“I have no idea where he is coming from. I really have no idea. I can’t imagine saying something about a player and his contract. I just don’t do that, ever. I’m really flabbergasted by that reference.”

Look, I know there’s a habit these days to say that Vin Scully is some godlike figure who does no wrong, so defending Scully is not exactly a brave and bold stance.  But can anyone recall a time when Scully truly got involved in that level of the game? Contracts and dollars are so far out of his bailiwick that he’d have to call long distance back to his bailiwick to get his messages if ever he found himself there.  Scully is all about stuff like “Uggla is Swedish for owl” and things.

Piazza talks about how he’s not well-liked in Los Angeles anymore. Hard to imagine why.

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.