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College football star chooses baseball

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Earlier this week Heisman Trophy winner — and first round draft pick of the Oakland Athletics — Kyler Murray chose football over baseball, committing himself to the NFL draft. It was a move that, however sensible from Murray’s point of view, has led to a lot of soul-searching among baseball folks and has raised questions about what the sport offers young, talented athletes with other options.

It’s not that bleak, however! Another outstanding college football player said no to football this week and reaffirmed his commitment to baseball. Tim Tebow! From PFT:

One Florida Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback will not be coaching another in the Alliance of American Football.

Steve Spurrier, the Florida Heisman winner who later coached the Gators to a national championship and is now head coach of the AAF’s Orlando Apollos, said this morning on PFT Live that after the AAF briefly reached out to Tebow in the ball, it became clear that Tebow’s focus is on playing baseball.

Ok, so maybe Tebow is not turning down quite the football opportunity that Murray would’ve been. But take your victories where you can get them, baseball.

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.