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Jays sign John Axford to minor league deal

And other bits of Jays news.

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MLB: Toronto Blue Jays at Chicago White Sox Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

After releasing John Axford Saturday, the Blue Jays have signed him to a minor league contract.

Axford will take four weeks off of throwing and then be reevaluated for the elbow stress reaction. By releasing him they saved $100,000 in a retention bonus they would have owed him.

I’m glad he’s still part of the team.

Jordan Romano has been returned to the Blue Jays from the Rangers, who picked him in the Rule 5 draft.

Travis Bergen, of course, is going to be kept by the Giants after having a good spring.

John Lott, in the Athletic, tells us that Charlie Montoyo says Justin Shafer has a chance to make the Jays bullpen. Not a great chance, but more of a chance than we would have thought.

Lott tells us that Shafer found out, through using the Rapsodo technology that his ‘average velocity fastball has ‘higher than average vertical break’. Here is the explanation:

“If you throw a ball, point A to point B, and it’s not affected by gravity and stays on a true line, that’s zero induced vertical break. You know when people say a guy has a rising fastball? The more you can get a fastball above zero, the more it stays up.”

It doesn’t actually rise, of course. A so-called rising fastball is an optical illusion. But tell that to the hitters flummoxed by Justin Verlander.