Axford throws support behind Braun

As Brewers players, coaches, legends and prospects gathered at the Frontier Airlines Center on Sunday for the team’s “On Deck,” event, a long shadow was cast by one of the players who was not in attendance. Left fielder Ryan Braun passed on the event because his appeal of a drug suspension remains unresolved.

“It’s pretty big,” closer John Axford conceded. “But as a player, I’m not looking at it in a really negative way. We know Ryan. Playing with him for a few years, we know how hard he works and we know what he does. It’s not something negative we’re trying to look at. Obviously, people want to talk about it, try to figure out what’s going on.

“Being with Brauny and seeing how hard he works, I definitely have his back every step of the way.”

Axford would rather focus on the rest of the team, which will try to defend the National League Central crown.

“We have a great team once again,” Axford said. “Obviously, you’re going to lose some players each and every year, but you’re going to pick up some players each and every year. I think Doug and Gord and everyone has done a great job in the front office trying to fill those gaps. We have our entire starting staff coming back. We have [the eighth and ninth innings covered] and a great group of guys in the bullpen. On paper, the team looks great, I think.”

Axford spent some time discussing hair care with a crowd of hard-working reporters, including his famous mustache — he was named the 2011 Mustached American of the Year by the American Mustache Institutes, even though he’s Canadian — and the long hair on his head. Axford hasn’t had it cut since the end of the season, so he somewhat resembled a rock star.

As for winning the mustache award, he said with a big smile, “I’m the first Canadian to win, so I guess there was some controversy.”

Axford pointed out that Goulet was born in the U.S. but to French Canadian parents.

One more bit of Axford news: His wife, Nicole, is expecting another son in June. The couple already has one son, John Jr., who was born at about the same time in 2011.

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Follow me on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy

 

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