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Shohei Ohtani on Brad Ausmus: ‘He’s a very good-looking guy’

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As you know, each December I rate major league managers for handsomeness. I’m not necessarily proud that it’s the most popular post I write each year, but who am I to question the desires of the public? I do it for you, not for me. You should really thank me, frankly.

Of course, I was not the first person to observe that some baseball managers are handsome. Indeed, the genesis of my first Handsome Manager Ranking back in 2013 was my now-wife, then-girlfriend — a Tigers fan — watching Brad Ausmus walk into the hotel at the Winter Meetings down in Orlando and give him a serious looking-over. I’m secure about the state of our relationship, and was then too, but yeah, it was something to observe. And it’s a big reason why Ausmus has been at or near the top of the rankings every year he’s managed. I have to assume that the woman who chose to spend the rest of her life with me has good taste, right?

Don’t answer that. Just go with it.

But it’s not just my wife who finds Ausmus to be a hot little number. So too does his designated hitter and rehabbing ace:

As I said, I’ll give him Ausmus. I’m a lot more skeptical about Scioscia. My rankings had him at or near the bottom most years. I suppose we’ll chalk this up to diplomacy. I mean, given that he left the Angels on pretty good terms, all things considered, he’s more likely than not to show up at camp in Tempe at some point down the line or to be at some games in Anaheim eventually. Can’t be slamming the ex-boss, I suppose.

Anyway, I’d like there to be some free agent signings now.

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.