Padres starter Josh Johnson will start the regular season on the disabled list with a strained flexor muscle, Bill Shaikin of the L.A. Times reports. MLB.com’s Corey Brock adds that Johnson is expected to miss a month to five weeks. The right-hander was having a decent spring in limited playing time, posting a 3.38 ERA in 13 1/3 innings.
Johnson had surgery in October to remove a bone spur and loose bodies from his right elbow. The Padres brought him along slowly, having him make his Cactus League debut in early March, but as the sun rises in the East and sets in the West, Johnson suffers an injury. He had two stints on the DL last season with the Blue Jays, dealing with triceps inflammation and a forearm strain. He finished with a 6.20 ERA in 81 1/3 innings.
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.