Indians finalize deal with closer Axford

The Sports NetworkDecember 19, 2013 

Cleveland, OH (SportsNetwork.com) - The Cleveland Indians have agreed to a one-year contract with right-handed reliever John Axford.

Axford opened the 2013 campaign as Milwaukee's closer, but was removed after six blown saves and was eventually dealt to St. Louis in August. Axford pitched to a 1.74 ERA for the Cardinals down the stretch and struck out five batters over 2 1/3 scoreless innings in two World Series appearances.

After saving 81 games the previous two seasons, Axford didn't record a single save last season. Still, the Indians plan on having him open camp as the team's closer.

Behind inconsistent closer Chris Perez, Cleveland ranked near the bottom of the league in save percentage last season and blew 22 saves.

Over his five-year career with the Brewers and Cardinals, Axford has saved 106 games while going 22-19 with a 3.29 ERA.

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