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Milwaukee Brewers trade ex-closer John Axford to St. Louis

Milwaukee Brewers closer John Axford pitches in the ninth inning against the Boston Red Sox during an MLB Interleague baseball game at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts June 18, 2011.
Credit: Reuters/Dominick Reuter
Milwaukee Brewers closer John Axford pitches in the ninth inning against the Boston Red Sox during an MLB Interleague baseball game at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts June 18, 2011. Credit: Reuters/Dominick Reuter

MILWAUKEE (WTAQ) - The Milwaukee Brewers traded reliever John Axford to the St. Louis Cardinals Friday morning for a player to be named later.

The move was made just a day before the August 31st deadline for trading players who clear waivers and can be eligible for the post-season. The Cardinals lead the National League Central Division by a game over Pittsburgh – and those two teams are about to open a crucial three-game series Friday night.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch said Axford was due back at Pittsburgh in time for Friday night’s contest. He had just left Pittsburgh with his former Brewer teammates Thursday evening, after the Crew took 2 of 3 from the Pirates.

While it seemingly makes sense for the 30-year-old Axford to be headed to a contender, some will certain question sending a player to one of Milwaukee’s top divisional rivals.

Axford began the season as the Brewers’ closer, but he lost that role after a slow start. He failed to get a save with the Crew this year, as he built up a 6-7 record in 62 relief appearances with a 4.45 ERA.

Two years ago, Axford set a Brewers’ record with 46 saves – and he was the winning pitcher in the deciding Game 5 of the 2011 National League Division Series against Arizona.

In a statement, Brewers’ GM Doug Melvin said, “John has been a big contributor to the Brewers, and we do not go to the playoffs in 2011 without his outstanding performance.”

The Brewers recalled right-hander Alfredo Figaro from AAA to take Axford’s roster spot. Figaro is 2-3 for the Crew this year

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