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Reliever John Axford signs minor league contract with the Blue Jays

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The 38-year-old Canadian reliever reportedly re-signs with the Toronto Blue Jays

John Axford #49 of Team Canada pitches during the 2021 WBSC Baseball America Qualifier at Clover Park on Saturday, June 5, 2021 in Port St. Lucie, Florida.
John Axford #49 of Team Canada pitches during the 2021 WBSC Baseball America Qualifier on Saturday, June 5, 2021.
Photo by Rhona Wise/MLB Photos via Getty Images

A week ago today, John Axford was a Sportsnet commentator who spoke about the Blue Jays’ bullpen woes in a pre-game show. Today, he is on the other side, with his now-former colleague Jamie Campbell reporting that he has signed a contract to return to the Blue Jays. Another former colleague confirms that it is a minor-league contract.

This is the fourth time the Canadian right-hander has signed with Toronto, having previously signed minor-league deals in 2018 and twice in 2019. Axford last pitched in the major leagues in 2018, giving the Jays a decent half-season out of the bullpen before he was dealt to the Los Angeles Dodgers for Corey Copping at the deadline (Copping was released last summer).

Axford isn’t coming straight off of his couch: he spent this spring competing for the Canadian men’s baseball team in Olympic Games qualifiers where he reportedly touched 98.

John Axford has worn #44, #66, #77, and #88 (among other numbers) in his major league career. His #77 with the 2018 Jays now belongs to Josh Palacios, and #99 is Ryu’s, so I wonder what number he would don if he makes it up to the big leagues.