Jason Giambi made the Indians out of spring training, but began the season on the disabled list with a strained lower back.
After some roster shuffling–including sending Carlos Carrasco back to Triple-A–the Indians have activated Giambi from the DL.
Giambi was signed to be a bench bat and at age 42 he’s not exactly suited for regular playing time anyway, but if Drew Stubbs continues to struggle the Indians could get Giambi into the lineup a few times per week by shifting some guys around. Giambi hasn’t had more than 225 plate appearances in a season since 2009, but he posted a .370 on-base percentage and .444 slugging percentage from 2010-2012.
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.