Four days ago the Brewers said they were sticking with John Axford despite a rough start to the season, but now it looks like manager Ron Roenicke is making a change in the ninth inning.
Axford took the loss in yesterday’s game against the Diamondbacks, but only after throwing a scoreless 10th inning and then being asked to pitch the 11th inning too. It didn’t go well and now Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that Roenicke dropped some serious hints about a change even though nothing is official yet:
Asked if there was a closing situation today against the Cubs if he would use Axford, Roenicke said, “I need to have a discussion with ‘Ax’ on what we plan to do. So, I really can’t give you an answer until I talk to him.”
Normally, when a manager says somethng like that, it means he hasn’t talked to the player yet about making a change and therefore isn’t ready to tell the media.
Axford has a 20.25 ERA, allowing six runs in 2.2 innings while serving up four homers. He briefly lost the closer job last season, but then recovered to be one of the best relievers in baseball down the stretch. Presumably the fill-in will be setup man Jim Henderson, who has a 3.21 ERA and 49 strikeouts in 34 career innings.
The Rangers outrighted reliever Shawn Tolleson off the 40-man roster on Wednesday. Rather than accept the assignment to Triple-A Round Rock, Tolleson has opted to become a free agent, Rangers executive VP of communications John Blake reports.
Tolleson, 28, emerged as a closer for the Rangers in 2015, but his follow-up campaign this year was dreadful. He finished with a 7.68 ERA and a 29/10 K/BB ratio in 36 1/3 innings. He eventually went on the 60-day disabled list with a back injury.
Despite the nightmarish season, it’s easy to see a team deciding to take a flier on Tolleson for the 2017 season.
Indians slugger Carlos Santana hasn’t played in the outfield in a major league game since 2012, but the Indians are strongly considering starting him in left field for Game 3 of the World Series at Wrigley Field on Friday, MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian reports. As the game is hosted in a National League park, there is no DH rule in effect, so the Indians might otherwise have to keep Santana on the bench.
Santana is hitless in six at-bats in the World Series thus far, but he has drawn two walks. He has overall not had a great postseason, carrying an aggregate .564 OPS in 40 plate appearances since the beginning of the playoffs. Still, during the regular season, he had an .865 OPS so he can certainly be a threat on offense at any given moment.