Canadian Axford signs with Blue Jays

 Reliever John Axford (Port Dover, Ont.) has reportedly signed a minor league deal with the Toronto Blue Jays. Photo Credit: Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

Reliever John Axford (Port Dover, Ont.) has reportedly signed a minor league deal with the Toronto Blue Jays. Photo Credit: Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

By Andrew Hendriks

Canadian Baseball Network

TORONTO - Only days shy of the first official pitchers and catchers workout in Dunedin, the Toronto Blue Jays and free agent right-hander John Axford have come to terms on a minor league deal that includes an invite to big-league camp.

MLB on FOX reporter Ken Rosenthal was the first to report the deal.

Axford, 34, has appeared in parts of nine MLB seasons and joins the Blue Jays having recorded a career ERA of 3.74 with 144 saves across 493 big league assignments dating back to his rookie campaign with the Milwaukee Brewers in 2009.

With a four-seam fastball that touched 98 mph at times during the 2017 season, the 6-foot-5 native of Port Dover, Ont., also utilizes both a curveball and cutter while predominantly working off of a sinker. The latter has helped him convert an overall ground ball rate of 50.1% while limiting opposing batters to a 0.84 HR/9% over his well-traveled career in the Show.

In the last half of his two-year, $10M contract with the Oakland Athletics, the Canisius graduate appeared in 22 games and recorded a WHIP of 2.095 while walking 17 batters and allowing 15 earned runs over 21 innings pitched prior to being released on August 1.

Looking to bounce back from his recent West Coast woes, the Blue Jays will become Axford's seventh MLB organization joining Milwaukee, St. Louis, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Colorado, and Oakland, respectively.

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Andrew Hendriks

Born in southern Ontario during the late 1980's, Hendriks had a front row seat to watch the Blue Jays reach the pinnacle in '92/'93 as a child, an experience that only bolstered this Canadian's love for the "American Game." Having played since before his memory allows access too, his passion for Baseball grew over years of emulating his heroes on the local sandlots, memorizing the backs of chewing gum scented cards and travelling across North America to experience as many aspects of the game as possible. In 2009, Hendriks began volunteering at the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame as a Weekend Tour Guide. By 2010, he was hired on to help curate for the museum & Instruct the fundamentals of the game along side such legends as Tony Fernandez, Roberto Alomar and Jim Fanning during the Hall's annual Kids On Deck program. Following the 2011 season, Hendriks began blogging and co-hosting a weekly podcast for www.BackInBlue.ca, a Blue Jays themed website ran by fans, for fans. Looking to continue connecting with baseball fans across the country, Hendriks is excited to join such a strong team at the Canadian Baseball Network and looks forward to chipping in.