Blue Jays get updates on Tepera and Axford

Romano could return; Pompey scratched

March 21st, 2019

CLEARWATER -- The Blue Jays received another round of medical updates on Ryan Tepera and John Axford Thursday morning, and predictably the news wasn't good.

Tepera has been diagnosed with inflammation in his right elbow, and is scheduled to visit Dr. David Altcheck later this week in New York. Altcheck is an orthopedic surgeon who specializes in ulnar collateral ligament injuries, and has performed many Tommy John surgeries.

Axford was informed that he has a stress reaction in the olecranon bone of his right elbow. A stress reaction typically indicates that the bone is becoming weaker, but does not currently contain a fracture. Axford is scheduled to be evaluated again in four weeks. It's the same injury that officially ended Yu Darvish's 2018 season with the Cubs.

"They have to wait for what the doctors say," Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo said. "They're trying to stay positive. ... We have to make an adjustment. Now somebody else gets a chance to make the club."

The Blue Jays entered the spring with four relievers who had secure jobs: Closer Ken Giles, Tim Mayza, Joe Biagini and Tepera. Right-hander Bud Norris was expected to slot into Tepera's old spot until he, too, was potentially lost to injury after complaining of right arm soreness on Thursday. The latest developments mean David Paulino and Sam Gaviglio become favorites to make the team, while Javy Guerra, Danny Barnes, Jason Adams and Rule 5 Draft pick Elvis Luciano are in the mix as well.

Romano to return?
The pitching news wasn't all bad for Toronto on Thursday, as it appears as though the Blue Jays may be on the verge of reacquiring right-hander Jordan Romano. The recent Rule 5 Draft pick of the Rangers was informed on Thursday morning that he did not make the team's 25-man roster.

Per the rules of the Draft, Romano cannot be optioned to the Minor Leagues before being offered back to the Blue Jays for $50,000. The two sides could also work out a trade to keep Romano with the Rangers organization, or Texas could look to move him to another team.

Romano went 11-8 with a 4.13 ERA in 25 starts at Double-A New Hampshire last season. The 25-year-old Romano made seven appearances for the Rangers this spring, and allowed four runs on seven hits while walking five and striking out six. The native of Markham, Ontario, was originally taken in the 10th round of the 2014 MLB Draft.

Pompey scratched
Blue Jays outfielder Dalton Pompey was scratched from Thursday's game against the Phillies after he bumped his head on some bats that were being stored on top of his locker at Dunedin Stadium.

The freak injury might sound funny, but internally it's no laughing matter because Pompey has a history of concussion problems. The 26-year-old missed almost the entire 2017 season after he sustained a concussion while playing for Team Canada at the World Baseball Classic.

"He hit his head on the locker, and now he we have to wait for the concussion tests," Montoyo said. "That's all I know. It was a last-minute deal."

Pompey was competing for a spot on Toronto's bench, but he appeared to be facing an uphill battle. The Blue Jays have been prepared to carry four outfielders on the roster, with Teoscar Hernandez, Kevin Pillar, Randal Grichuk and Billy McKinney. Pompey was trying to become the fifth outfielder, if Toronto decided to carry seven relievers instead of eight.

The native of Mississauga, Ontario, is out of options and cannot be sent to the Minors without first clearing waivers. In 41 games at Triple-A Buffalo last season, Pompey hit .255/.325/.393 with four home runs and 17 RBIs.

Worth mentioning
Pillar was held out of the lineup on Thursday because of a sore neck. Pillar injured himself while attempting to go first to third during Wednesday's game against the Braves. Montoyo said the injury is minor, and Pillar is considered day to day with no risk of missing time during the regular season.

Up next
Right-hander Aaron Sanchez will get the start when the Blue Jays play their first night game of the spring on Friday at Dunedin Stadium. First pitch is scheduled for 6:07 p.m. ET. This will be Sanchez's final outing of the spring before he likely opens the year as Toronto's No. 3 starter.