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Canadian native Axford signs with Blue Jays

Reliever lands Minor League deal, heads to big league Spring Training
MLB.com @_dadler

For the first time in his career, John Axford will get the chance to play for his home country's Major League team.

The Canadian free-agent reliever signed a Minor League deal with the Blue Jays on Friday that includes an invitation to big league camp. MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal was first to report the sides had agreed to a deal.

For the first time in his career, John Axford will get the chance to play for his home country's Major League team.

The Canadian free-agent reliever signed a Minor League deal with the Blue Jays on Friday that includes an invitation to big league camp. MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal was first to report the sides had agreed to a deal.

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Axford was born and raised in Ontario and attended high school in Brantford, a little more than an hour outside of Toronto.

The 34-year-old right-hander pitched for the A's last year, his second season with the team. He made 22 relief appearances, posting a 6.43 ERA and 21 strikeouts over 21 innings before he was released at the end of July.

Axford has also pitched for the Brewers, Cardinals, Indians, Pirates and Rockies in his nine-year Major League career. He led the National League with 46 saves while with Milwaukee in 2011. Selected by the Reds in the 42nd round of the '05 Draft, the University of Notre Dame product is 34-33 with 144 saves, 535 strikeouts and a 3.71 ERA over 470 2/3 innings in 493 games.

David Adler is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York. Follow him on Twitter at @_dadler.

Toronto Blue Jays, John Axford