Farewell Ax Man – Humble beginnings

By Jason Arndtbrewers
Brewers Farm Report
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John Axford pitches in 2009 for the High A Brevard County Manatees - his first season in the organization.

John Axford pitches in 2009 for the High A Brevard County Manatees – his first season in the organization.

Milwaukee traded former closer John Axford to Central Division rival St. Louis earlier Friday and marks the end of an era to the former Brevard County Manatee, Huntsville Star and Nashville Sound.

Axford was signed as a minor league free agent by Milwaukee in 2008 following one season with the New York Yankees’ organization.

The closer posted a 5-10 record with an earned run average of 4.55 as a spot starter and long reliever for the High A Manatees in 2008.  His 95 innings with the Florida State League team is the most he ever accrued professionally in a season and allowed 48 earned runs and struck out 89.

Axford split time between three different levels the following year in 2009 (Brevard County, Huntsville, Nashville) and combined for 68.1 innings pitched with a 9-1 record and 2.77 earned run average.

He posted a 5-0 record in 22 relief appearances for the Nashville Sounds in 2009 and started coming into his own.

Milwaukee attempted to convert him to a starter upon his initial year with the organization, starting 14 of 26 games but eventually found his niche in the bullpen and set the tone for his career heading into the Major Leagues.

Axford’s best strikeout stint came with the Manatees in 2009 where he fanned 43 batters in 27.1 innings before earning a promotion to Double A Huntsville.

Hellweg to be recalled

Hellweg

Hellweg

Nashville’s Johnny Hellweg has his boarding pass stamped to Milwaukee and will be en route to Miller Park following his last start for the Sounds Friday.

Hellweg faces off against Iowa in the first game of the Sounds’ final series of the season and will be the first of many September call-ups when Major League rosters expand to 40 on September 1.

The Pacific Coast League’s Pitcher of the Year is second in the league with 11 victories and also in earned run average with 3.16. He rattled off a string of nine consecutive minor league before and after his short stint with Milwaukee.

Hellweg’s first trip to Milwaukee was unsuccessful in four appearances posting an 0-3 record with 13 earned runs allowed in 10.2 innings.

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