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Indians reach agreement with closer Axford

The SportsXchange

Right-handed reliever John Axford, non-tendered by the St. Louis Cardinals earlier this month, has reached agreement on a contract, pending a physical, to become the Cleveland Indians' closer.

According to multiple media reports, Axford agreed to a free agent deal with Cleveland late Sunday. The terms of the contract were unknown.

Axford, 30, was the Milwaukee Brewers' closer from 2010-12, and he led the National League with 46 saves in 2011. He wound up as a middle reliever in 2013, then was dealt to St. Louis in August.

Axford had no decisions and a 1.59 ERA in six postseason appearances for the National League champion Cardinals. During 13 regular-season appearances for St. Louis, he went 1-0 with a 1.74 ERA.

The Indians have a vacancy at the back of the bullpen after they released closer Chris Perez on Oct. 31. Perez had a 9.64 ERA in September and was eligible for salary arbitration after earning $7.3 million this year.

Axford earned $5 million in 2013, and he would have been arbitration-eligible if the Cardinals tendered him a contract.
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