PHOENIX -- Brewers closer John Axford had another successful Oscar night, correctly predicting 11 of the 15 winners at Sunday night's Academy Awards after going 11-for-13 last year. Perhaps some day, the Brewers' resident film buff will hold a statuette of his own.Axford, who revealed his predictions via Twitter (@JohnAxford), can foresee a future in the movies, and already has one project in the books. He made a black and white film with a group while enrolled at Notre Dame, a dark story of a young woman emotionally neglected by her husband. This offseason, Axford had the 16 mm film digitized. There are still plenty of years of pitching ahead of Axford, 28, but he's been banking story ideas and would someday like to be involved in writing or producing his own film. "I have lots of stories in my head, but it's a matter of writing them out," Axford said. "I would like to find out some day if I could make it in the movies, either as a writer or maybe a producer. I don't know if I could handle being the director of a $100 million movie, though." On Sunday, Axford nailed best picture ("The Artist"), best actor (star of "The Artist," Jean Dujardin) and both of the best supporting actor categories. He missed, as did many Oscar prognosticators, on best actress, which went to Meryl Streep for her portrayal of British prime minister Margaret Thatcher in "The Iron Lady." Axford's pick was Viola Davis from "The Help." His favorite movie of the year was "Rango," which won best animated film. Axford watched it during 2011 Spring Training, when he was felled by a nasty case of food poisoning. "'The Artist' was definitely one of my favorites, too," he said. "I haven't seen anything like it before, and it's great in the way it pulls you in on a visual level."
Brewers want Gallardo to be more efficient
PHOENIX -- Brewers manager Ron Roenicke thinks ace right-hander Yovani Gallardo will do more in 2012 if he learns how to do less.That's the task of pitching coach Rick Kranitz this spring, continuing the development of a pitcher who turned 26 on Monday and is coming of a season in which he went 17-10 with a 3.52 ERA and led the club in strikeouts for the third straight season. Gallardo's pure stuff, Roenicke argued, "is as good as anybody's in baseball," but because he has a plus fastball, curveball and slider, many of those pitches are swung through or fouled off, and Gallardo tends to work with high pitch counts. He threw four pitches per plate appearance in 2011, the second-highest total in the National League to Tim Lincecum's 4.01, and tied for sixth in the league with 16.7 pitches per inning. "Somehow, we have to find a way to get him some earlier outs," Roenicke said. How do you do that? "Sometimes it's not throwing the nastiest pitch you have the first pitch," Roenicke said. "There's a lot of guys that you don't see the real nasty breaking ball until you get two strikes, or you don't see the 'humped-up' fastball. ... There's times when it can't be, '100 percent, full-gorilla, this is everything I have from the first pitch through 95.'" The Brewers will also continue pushing the changeup, a pitch which Gallardo is dabbling with again this spring. According to the website FanGraphs.com, Gallardo has used that pitch more sparingly each of the past three seasons, from 7.1 percent of his offerings in 2009 to 3.8 percent in '10 to just one percent in '11. Roenicke has yet to announce whether Gallardo or fellow right-hander Zack Greinke will start on Opening Day against the Cardinals. Gallardo has garnered that assignment the past two seasons.
The Brewers had a morning meeting with Major League Baseball security officials, who covered a variety of topics including players' exposure via social media. They will take part in another meeting Wednesday with representatives of MLB's Baseball Assistance Team, which aids former players and officials with financial, psychological or physical burdens.
Right-hander Mike Fiers signed a one-year contract on Monday, leaving starter Chris Narveson and closer John Axford as the only members of the 40-man roster unsigned.
The Brewers pay their players with zero to three years of Major League service time according to a program that assigns bonuses above the league minimum salary for achievements and awards, and unless players accept, their contracts are "renewed" at the club rate for the coming season. This year's renewal date is March 2.