At the end of July, amid an epic, multi-game meltdown of the Brewers bullpen, Ron Roenicke decided to go to a closer-by-committee approach. That’s over now, and John Axford has his old job back, it seems. Axford was put in after the Brewers turned a 5-0 lead into a save situation against the Cubs last night. And Roenicke liked what he saw:
“This is a guy we would obviously like to be in that closer role,” Roenicke said. “And the reason we took him out of it is to try and do what’s best for him to get back into that role. I think when he was out of it, I think he pitched well enough to allow us the confidence that we think we can put him back in there now.”
Overall Axford hasn’t exactly been lights-out since he was pulled from the closer’s role, so it’s not like he’s a new man or something. But it’s at least worth Milwaukee figuring out what they have with him now, when the games no longer really matter as opposed to going into the offseason unsure of it.
Phillies third baseman Will Middlebrooks suffered a serious injury during Saturday’s Grapefruit League contest against the Orioles. The infielder was chasing down a pop fly in the eighth inning when he ran into left fielder Andrew Pullin, who inadvertently trapped Middlebrooks’ ankle under his leg. Middlebrooks was unable to put weight on his leg following the collision and was carted off the field and taken to a local hospital for X-rays.
Per MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki, not much is known yet about the severity of the ankle injury or the recovery time it will require, though it appears serious enough to set Middlebrooks back considerably as he seeks a backup/bench role with the team this spring.
The 29-year-old is currently seeking another opportunity to extend his six-year major-league career in 2018. He’s coming off of two down years with the Brewers and Rangers, during which he slashed a cumulative .169/.229/.262 with four extra bases through 70 plate appearances.