By Kevin Glew
Cooperstowners in Canada
The Toronto Blue Jays dealt right-hander John Axford (Port Dover, Ont.) to the Milwaukee Brewers on Monday in exchange for cash considerations.
With the transaction, the Canuck will rejoin the team he began his big league career with in 2009. The Brewers noted in their press release that Axford will join the team tonight.
Axford had been dominant for the Blue Jays’ triple-A Buffalo Bisons, posting an 0.84 ERA and allowing just two hits, while striking out 14, in 10 2/3 innings, since he was signed by the Blue Jays in June. He was inked to a minor league deal after his fastball hit 98 mph on the radar gun for the Canadian national team at the America’s Olympic Qualifier in Florida.
The 38-year-old right-hander, who has served as an analyst on Sportsnet’s Blue Jays Central in recent months, has not pitched in the big leagues since September 21, 2018. He signed with the Blue Jays prior to spring training in 2019, but made just one minor league appearance for the club that year due to an elbow injury.
In 2018, the 6-foot-5 righty went 4-1 with a 4.41 ERA in 45 appearances for the Blue Jays before being dealt to the Los Angeles Dodgers at the trade deadline.
The Brewers shared that Axford will get his old uniform number 59 back when he returns. Bench coach Pat Murphy has agreed to switch to number 00.
Axford toed the rubber for the Brewers for his first five MLB seasons from 2009 to 2013. During that tenure, he went 21-19 with a 3.35 ERA, while notching 106 saves in 268 appearances. He holds the Brewers’ record for most saves in a single season (46 in 2011) and ranks second to Dan Plesac (133) on the team’s all-time saves list.
The Canuck reliever has registered a 3.87 ERA and notched 144 saves in 543 big league appearances in his 10-year major league career that has also included stops with the St. Louis Cardinals, Cleveland Indians, Pittsburgh Pirates, Colorado Rockies, Oakland A’s and Dodgers.