Axford dealing with son's rattlesnake bite

Rockies reliever's child undergoing extensive treatment to save foot

Axford dealing with son's rattlesnake bite

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Rockies right-hander John Axford has been away from the club for most of the last week helping tend to his 2 1/2-year-old son, Jameson, who was bitten by a rattlesnake on the top of his right foot two times last Wednesday and is in a local hospital.

Doctors thought their initial anti-venom treatment was effective, but there was more venom than originally expected. Axford said doctors have saved the foot, although there is concern about one of Jameson's toes. Axford has spent most of the time at the hospital as his son struggled through pain and lack of sleep.

Axford is thankful the situation is turning positive. Well-wishes from fans, the organization, family and friends have helped, and a toy version of the Rockies' triceratops mascot did wonders.

"When he pulled Dinger out of the bag, it was the first time I saw him smile in four days," Axford said. "It was awesome. He pulled him out and even started roaring at me. Those moments are great to see."

Axford believes Jameson accidentally stepped on the snake beside a bush by the back door of the house the family is renting in North Scottsdale. The incident occurred after Axford's last Cactus League appearance, a scoreless inning with three strikeouts and two walks against the Giants last Wednesday. Axford saw his family off in the lobby of the Rockies' facility, worked out and received a text from his wife, Nicole, as he was leaving the complex.

Nicole had called for help, which arrived within five minutes. Axford said Nicole has practically lived at the hospital. In-laws are in town, watching the Axfords' other son, J.B., 4 1/2.

Gardeners found the snake a couple of days later in the backyard.

Tuesday was the first day since the incident that Jameson did not undergo painful debridement treatment for the skin on his entire foot and into the ankle that Axford called "pretty horrifying" before the decision was made to give him pain medication. Axford has been there each day for support for Jameson and Nicole.

"I wanted to give him support; the last thing I wanted to do is think about baseball, coming here during those times and moments, but things are stabilizing today," Axford said.

Axford had been to the Rockies' complex once, to play catch, before Tuesday, when he threw a bullpen session and went through a workout.

The Axfords met with a plastic surgeon Monday, and it appears there will be skin-graft operations. There is swelling and discoloration that seems to increase by the day, but that turns out to be part of the healing process.

"At the end of the day, as bad as it looks, it's looking better," he said. "We're going by doctors' orders. They know more than we do. We're going to trust them to heal him the best way possible."

Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Hardball in the Rockies, follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb, and like his Facebook page, Thomas Harding and Friends at www.Rockies.com This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.