MILWAUKEE -- John Axford had no arguments when he was removed from his closer's role after blowing his sixth save of the season on July 16. More than a month later, though, the 29-year-old Brewers right-hander told manager Ron Roenicke that he wants his job back.
"It was my approach," Axford said of a conversation that came during the early portion of last weekend's series against the Phillies. "I think just based on some of the chaos and instability that's been happening down there, I wanted to make sure I took a leadership role and not only accepted some of that chaos and instability was because of me in the first place, but I wanted to re-establish it and make sure that things were going to be straight down there again."
On Tuesday, Roenicke obliged to Axford's request. The Brewers entered the ninth inning leading 5-0, but after Manny Parra and Jim Henderson combined for two outs and two runs, Roenicke brought in his once-dominant closer for the last out. It was a deliberate move to give Axford the save, he said.
"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."
In 15 games since being he was officially removed as the closer, Axford has two wins and three saves to go with a 4.73 ERA. Tuesday marked his first save since Aug. 6, but Axford said he hopes to get the ball more often in the ninth inning the rest of the way. If he continues to pitch well, Roenicke has no problem with that.
"I'm not saying I'm going to do that every time," Roenicke said. "But I think when everything matches up well, I think he'll be in there. I'm sure Henderson will have his chances, and hopefully we have a lot of chances here as the season goes on."