Brewers, Cards complete Axford trade

Two days after sending John Axford to the Cardinals, the Brewers completed the teams’ trade Sunday by acquiring 24-year-old reliever Michael Blazek, who will join the big league team before Monday’s game against the Pirates.

The trade turned into a swap of right-handers with high strikeout rates and occasional command concerns. Blazek, who converted from a starting role to relief in 2012, issued 10 walks with 10 strikeouts in 10 1/3 innings with the Cardinals this season, his first stint in the Major Leagues, but was excellent in the Minors, pitching to a 1.97 ERA in 36 appearances between St. Louis’ Double-A and Triple-A affiliates.

He struck out 52 batters versus 26 walks in 45 2/3 innings in the Minors, his best strikeout rate (10.2 per nine innings) since 2007 in rookie ball.

“We had good reports and [pro scout] Leon Wurth recently saw him and liked his arm,” Melvin said. “He’ll be here tomorrow and we’ll see if we can get him in some games in September.”

Blazek’s fastball averaged 92-95 in his outings with the Cardinals, according to the website FanGraphs.com.

Asked what sort of role he profiled for, Melvin said, “I don’t think we know enough about him. We have a lot of pitchers we’d like to see [this month], but he’ll get in some games.”

The Cardinals drafted Blazek (pronounced BLAY-zek) out of high school in the 35th round in 2007. He was added to the Cards’ 40-man roster last year, attended his first Major League Spring Training camp, and has two options remaining. He will wear uniform No. 54 with the Brewers.

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