Reliever John Axford close to deal with Blue Jays

John Axford delivers a pitch. (Nam Y. Huh/AP)

Canadian reliever John Axford is close to signing a minor-league deal with the Toronto Blue Jays.

Earlier in the off-season, Axford made it clear he hoped to return to the Blue Jays and expressed interest in helping mentor the team’s younger pitchers. Axford stated last month that he enjoyed playing in Toronto prior to being traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers ahead of the 2018 non-waiver trade deadline.

The 35-year-old right-hander appeared in 45 games for the Blue Jays last season, compiling a 4-1 record, 4.41 ERA and 50 strikeouts over 51 innings of work. A fractured fibula limited him to just five appearances with the Dodgers.

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