Blue Jays sign Canadian relief pitcher Axford to minor-league deal

Oakland Athletics closer John Axford shakes hands with catcher Stephen Vogt after the final out of a baseball game against the Texas Rangers in Arlington, Texas, Tuesday, July 26, 2016. The Toronto Blue Jays have signed Canadian relief pitcher John Axford to a minor-league deal.THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/LM Otero

TORONTO - The Toronto Blue Jays have signed Canadian relief pitcher John Axford to a minor-league deal.

The deal, announced by the team on Friday, includes an invitation to major league spring training.

Axford, from Port Dover, Ont., spent the last two seasons with the Oakland Athletics. The right-hander pitched 21 innings for Oakland in 2017, going 0-1 with a 6.43 earned-run average, 17 walks and 21 strikeouts.

Axford had his best season in 2011, when he led the league in saves (46) and allowed just 16 earned runs over 73 2/3 innings as a closer for the Milwaukee Brewers.

Axford played five seasons with Milwaukee from 2009-13.

The 34-year-old was drafted by the Seattle Mariners in the seventh round of the 2001 draft and in the 42nd round by Cincinnati in 2005.

He signed with Milwaukee in 2008.


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