- Israel, White House say Obama phone call to demand cease-fire was fake
- Nancy Pelosi: Deporting kids un-Christian, sends them ‘into a burning building’
- Islamist militants seize special forces base in Benghazi, Libya
- Feds sue Pennsylvania State Police over women’s fitness tests
- Israel accused of striking U.N. school, killing at least 15
- Israel hits symbols of Hamas rule; scores killed
- Mississippi abortion law can’t be enforced
- Teacher who survived Sandy Hook has book deal
- Jury awards Jesse Ventura $1.8M in case vs. ‘American Sniper’ author Chris Kyle
- Middle Eastern firm’s deal to manage U.S. cargo port raises security concerns
Axford takes over for Perez as Indians closer
Question of the Day
GOODYEAR, Ariz. (AP) - John Axford won’t be helping the hitters anymore.
The former Brewers closer got a surprise when he was traded to St. Louis last August. The Cardinals told him that something in his delivery was tipping off the hitters about what pitch was on the way.
In a game where any little advantage can make a difference, it was a revelation.
“If they figured it out, you don’t know who else did and how they used the information,” the Cleveland Indians‘ new closer said on Sunday.
Axford watched video, saw the telltale giveaway and changed it. He was a trustworthy reliever as the Cardinals won the NL pennant and lost to Boston in the World Series.
The tip-off there? He was ready to move back into a closer’s role for someone.
The Indians decided to make him the focal point of an overhauled bullpen.
“He was one of the most dominant relievers in the National League for a couple of years,” general manager Chris Antonetti said. “And then I think what we saw with St. Louis at the end of the year seemed to indicate that he was back closer to that guy that he’d been with Milwaukee.
“He’s got electric stuff. And when he’s got the ability to be really successful.”
He’s already well ahead of where he was a year ago.
The 30-year-old closer pitched for Canada in the World Baseball Classic and had a tired shoulder heading into the season. In one exhibition game, his fastball was all over the radar gun.
“I threw a fastball 89 miles per hour, but also threw one 96,” he said. “Just a weird variation. It’s not like I was trying to throw one harder or throw one slower. It just happened that way.”
It kept happening as the season started, and Axford got knocked around, costing him the closer’s job and some of his confidence.
“I just had that tough start in Milwaukee,” he said. “When you give up nine runs in your first four outings, five homers in the first half-month, it’s not really helpful to a reliever at all.”
Axford’s shoulder came around, and so did the results. He allowed only one run over 32 outings from mid-May to mid-July, going a career-best 20 1-3 innings without allowing a run during that time.
- Patent workers paid to exercise, shop, do chores: report
- Obama thanks Muslims for 'building the very fabric of our nation'
- Boehner rules out impeachment: 'Scam started by Democrats'
- CARSON: Rudderless U.S. foreign policy
- Ticket me Elmo? NYC mulls law for impersonators
- Smugglers, rainstorm combine to poke holes in border fence
- Obama mum on where illegal immigrant children are sheltered
- Federal judge grants 90-day stay in D.C. gun case
- Obama's brother wears Hamas scarf bearing anti-Israel slogans in photo
- Government OKs Arab-owned company Gulftainer to operate U.S. cargo port
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world