John Axford put together his second straight strong outing on Wednesday against the Padres. Don’t count him out for a spot in the Brewers’ bullpen.
“We talked about a whole bunch of things this morning,” manager Ken Macha said after his team’s 5-4 loss in Peoria. “We had Rick [Peterson, Milwaukee’s pitching coach] and [bullpen coach] Stan Kyles and Doug [Melvin, the GM], Gord [Ash, assistant GM] and myself, and there’s … so many options out there which could happen.
“He’s a name [Axford] who has been talked about. He’s been impressive. If he can continue to throw strikes, he can be effective [with] a plus fastball and a real good, hard curveball. There’s not too many arms like that.”
Axford retired all three Padres hitters he faced, on a pair of pop-ups to the catcher and another to second base. Two days earlier, he struck out the side in a “B” game against the Reds.
The Brewers’ bullpen field is crowded. Entering camp, six spots were essentially spoken for by Trevor Hoffman, Todd Coffey, LaTroy Hawkins, Mitch Stetter, Claudio Vargas and Carlos Villanueva. That would leave only one opening.