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Mike Clevinger has some deep thoughts about athleticism and, um, nipples

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I’m not given a commission by anyone for selling subscriptions to The Athletic. I mean, sure, for a lot of reasons I want that publication to do well. I have many friends who work for it and I think, for the most part, it does good work. But on some level they’re my competition, so I’m not gonna lay my life down for them to succeed or anything.

But I will link a story that, if you have sort of heart and brain, you will want to read. You will want to read it because it deals with some cosmic issues that all of us wrestle with on a daily basis.

Well, most of us.

Some of us.

OK, maybe just Indians pitcher Mike Clevinger.

Zack Meisel writes the story which is, ostensibly, about pitcher fielding drills. About how pitchers need to do them all spring, over and over again, in order for them to become automatic. Pitchers hate them, but they know how necessary they are. To deal with it all, they make a competition out of it. They go for bragging rights about who is the best athlete among the pitchers and all of that.

As athletes, they are super competitive. So even if they are outclassed in one area of competition, they may argue that, in reality, they are the best. To that end, Clevinger responded to teammate Shane Beiber’s claim that Beiber, and not Clevinger, is the best athlete because Beiber is the better hitter. Here’s Clevinger’s response:

“My exact comment to him,” Clevinger said, “is, ‘OK, put LeBron James in a batter’s box. Is he not an athlete? Because I guarantee he won’t look pretty against big-league pitching. Is he still an athlete? He’s still the best in the world, actually.’ So his argument’s not that logical. It’s like a vegan saying you can’t drink milk — do animals drink other animals’ milk? No, because they don’t have the thumbs to milk their nipples. Of course not. But if they did, do you know what a dog would be doing every f***ing day?”

Makes you think.

Anyway: subscribe to The Athletic. It’s worth it for that kind of stuff.

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.