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Indians reliever Axford of closer's duties

The SportsXchange

If the Cleveland Indians need a closer to finish a game, it will not be John Axford -- at least for a while.

Indians manager Terry Francona announced Saturday before a game against the Tampa Bay Rays that Axford will not finish games for an unspecified period. The two met during batting practice to discuss the situation.

Francona plans to rotate four relievers in the closer's role -- Cody Allen, Scott Atchison, Marc Rzepczynski and Bryan Shaw. He hopes to have Axford back to finishing games again soon.

Axford has a 1-3 record with nine saves in 11 opportunities and a 4.91 ERA in 17 games this season, his first with the Indians after signing a one-year, $4.5 ilion contract during the winter. He was replaced Friday night duirng the ninth inning of the Indians' 6-3 win over the Rays.

In his last four games, Axford allowed five earned runs, six hits and six walks in three innings, including winning home runs by the Chicago White Sox and the Minnesota Twins.

Axford began the 2013 season as the Milwaukee Brewers' closer before losing the job. He was non-tendered by the St. Louis Cardinals last winter.

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