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Braves starter Mike Foltynewicz ruled out for Opening Day

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Braves ace Mike Foltynewicz has officially been ruled out for Opening Day due to elbow soreness.

Or, more specifically, due to the delay in his spring training ramp-up schedule due to elbow soreness. There’s no suggestion right now that he is seriously injured, but he’s been sidelined for a couple of weeks and has just begun to play catch. Work from a mound vs. live hitters is currently unscheduled.

Still, it was expected that Foltynewicz was going to be the Braves’ Opening Day starter this year thanks to his fantastic 2018 season in which he posted a 2.85 ERA and a K/BB ratio of 202/68 in 183 innings across 31 starts. Taking his place in the opener against Philly will likely be either Julio Teheran or Sean Newcomb.

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.