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Jake Arrieta undergoes knee surgery to repair meniscus

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The Philadelphia Inquirer’s Matt Breen reports that Phillies pitcher Jake Arrieta underwent knee surgery a couple weeks ago to address a meniscus injury suffered during a weight training session, per manager Gabe Kapler. Arrieta is still expected to be ready for the start of the regular season.

The Phillies inked Arrieta to a three-year, $75 million contract last March. In his first season with the Phillies, the right-hander posted a 3.96 ERA with a 138/57 K/BB ratio in 172 2/3 innings.

Provided he is indeed healthy, Arrieta will slot in at No. 2 in the Phillies’ rotation behind Aaron Nola. In other rotation-related news, Jerad Eickhoff experienced recurring carpal tunnel symptoms last month after having undergone surgery for it at the end of last season, according to Scott Lauber. Eickhoff is hoping to snag a spot at the back of the rotation.

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.