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Axford was drafted by the Cincinnati Reds in the 42nd round of the 2005 amateur entry draft, but did not sign. In 2007, Axford was signed as a non-drafted minor league free agent by the New York Yankees and played in their farm system that season. He topped out with their Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees. In 2009, he was signed to a minor league contract with the Brewers. He played the entire 2008 season with the Class A-Advanced Brevard County Manatees. In 2009, he started with the Manatees before being promoted to the Double-A Huntsville Stars and then to the Triple-A Nashville Sounds. On September 7, 2009, he was called up to the Brewers.
Axford started 2010 in Nashville before being promoted by the Brewers in late April. With Trevor Hoffman struggling in save situations, Axford, even though he had never been a closer in his career, was given the job. Axford became a big success as a Brewer closer and gained popularity with Brewer fans as he sported a handlebar mustache in many of his early appearances, bringing back memories of legendary reliever Rollie Fingers. As of July 19, Axford is 5-1 with a 2.98 ERA, is a perfect 11 for 11 in save opportunities, and has struck out 34 batters in just over 27 innings pitched.
Axford throws mainly two pitches. A 95-98 MPH fastball and an 81-83 MPH curveball with a sharp break.