Corey Hart won’t be ready to return when eligible May 30

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Corey Hart is eligible to come off the disabled list on May 30, but Adam McCalvy of MLB.com reports that the Brewers first baseman won’t be ready to return from right knee surgery by then.

However, he has progressed enough to take batting practice yesterday and doing some running on the field. There’s still no timetable yet for Hart to begin a minor-league rehab assignment, so he’s likely at least 3-4 weeks from potentially rejoining the Brewers.

In his absence Brewers first basemen have hit just .200 with four homers in 42 games for a .560 OPS that ranks 28th among 30 teams, which is what happens when you’re so low on depth that you have to start weak-hitting middle infielders like Yuniesky Betancourt and Alex Gonzalez at first base.

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.