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MLB notes: Brewers plan to make room for two closers

Thu., July 14, 2011


With their trade for Francisco Rodriguez, the Milwaukee Brewers can call on a pair of potential closers. And in a tense ninth-inning situation, it sounds as if either Rodriguez or John Axford could get in the game.

Brewers general manager Doug Melvin said both Rodriguez and Axford, the team’s current closer, will get chances to finish games as Milwaukee makes a push for the playoffs.

“We’re not going to get involved with the roles at this time,” Melvin said Wednesday. “When you’re a championship club, you need to have everybody pulling together.”

Melvin said he talked to Rodriguez and Axford in the wake of the trade with the New York Mets, which came together quickly Tuesday and was announced almost immediately after the All-Star game. The Mets sent Rodriguez and cash to Milwaukee for two players to be named.

Melvin told Axford, who has a 2.83 ERA and 23 saves this season, to “not get nervous” about the addition.

Divisions remain tight

As the unofficial second half of the baseball season begins today, none of the six division leaders has a cushion greater than 31/2 games. One big reason for that could be that 2011 has been the Year of the Injury.

Some of the game’s biggest stars have spent significant chunks of time on the disabled list, which may have prevented their teams from asserting more dominance in their respective divisions.

The names are many, from Derek Jeter to Albert Pujols and Joe Mauer. One could field quite an All-Star team with the players who have been or are currently on the DL.

Clearing the bases

The fan who returned Derek Jeter’s ball from his 3,000th hit will get a bit of memorabilia to keep – his own baseball card. Topps says it will produce a trading card featuring Christian Lopez that will be included in sets later this year. … St. Louis solidified its rotation for the future, signing left-hander Jaime Garcia to a four-year contract extension with club options for a fifth and sixth season. Garcia leads the team in wins, going 9-3 with a 3.23 ERA, and was due to be eligible for arbitration for the first time after the season.

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