03/17/11 1:18 AM ET
Dickerson scratched from Brewers' lineup
By Adam McCalvy / MLB.com
Axford not concerned yet about shaky spring
PEORIA, Ariz. -- John Axford said his problem this spring has been mental and not mechanical. In true closer fashion, by Wednesday afternoon he had already moved on from his latest shaky outing."I'd be lying if I said I didn't spend some time thinking about it last night after the game," Axford said a few hours before the team's only night game this spring. "It's just frustrating, to say the least." Axford faced five Cleveland batters on Tuesday afternoon and didn't retire any of them, and so far has looked little like the fireballing rookie who converted 24 of 27 save opportunities last season.
2010 Spring Training - Milwaukee Brewers
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Opponents are hitting .444 against him in five games since Axford returned from a bout of food poisoning. In his last three outings, he's allowed five earned runs, four walks and six hits. Velocity isn't the issue; his fastball averaged 94.9 mph last season, and a scout on hand Tuesday said he was reaching 93-94."I just didn't feel comfortable," Axford said. "I may be running through things in my mind a little bit too much, instead of last year when I was just running out there and throwing the ball." Mechanically, he said he feels great. Axford worked hard with Brewers Minor League coaches Lee Tunnell and Fred Dabney to rework his delivery before the 2009 season, and he ended that year in the Majors. In 2010, he joined the Brewers in May and took over for a struggling Trevor Hoffman. "Everything feels great, my approach has been the same," he said. "I just need to get back in the groove a little better. [On Tuesday], I was in my head a little bit too much. I have to get back in the same process I was in all of last year." As for his velocity, Axford said, "It might be there, it might not. I don't really know because I haven't looked. [Bullpen coach Stan Kyles] thinks it looks like I'm trying to get it done instead of letting it happen. It's a matter of getting my mind-set. When I'm getting prepared before going in and when I'm out there, there's supposed to be a different intensity, and I don't think I've brought it completely to where it needs to be. "Physically, everything is great. I'm working as hard, or harder, than I was last year to get done the things I need to get done. It's spring, and the results aren't there. It's better to get those things out of the way now instead of later."
Manager Ron Roenicke was very pleased with right-hander Takashi Saito's one-inning stint against the Mariners on Wednesday and said the Japan native left after the game to pick up his wife and three daughters from the airport. They were in Yokohama when the earthquake struck last week, away from the worst of the damage, but were affected by the aftershocks that followed. ... Reliever LaTroy Hawkins could pitch an inning in a Minor League game as early as Friday, Roenicke said. The veteran has been following a rehabilitation program all spring after undergoing right shoulder surgery last year. ... Shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt was back in the lineup Wednesday after missing two games with a stiff right quadriceps, but center fielder Carlos Gomez was still out because of a tight back. ... Logan Schafer was returned to Minor League camp on Wednesday, leaving 44 players on the Major League spring roster. Schafer will have surgery Thursday to repair his fractured right thumb and will report to the club's Minor League complex on Friday.