It was no way to treat the man who holds the franchise's single-season saves record. Axford went 46-for-48 in save opportunities in 2011, becoming the first Brewer since Rollie Fingers to lead his league in saves.
"I said, 'Rafi, they just skipped me!'" Axford said.
There was a method, incidentally, for choosing his uniform number. It's the result of adding up the digits of the birthdates of his wife and two sons.
Axford's youngest, 2 1/2-year-old Jameson, has been receiving treatment in a Scottsdale, Ariz., hospital since being bitten twice on the top of his right foot by an adult rattlesnake on March 25. Jameson has undergone multiple surgeries so far, including one on Monday that revealed more extensive tissue damage in the foot than was expected. He will be hospitalized for at least the next six weeks.
The good news, Axford said, is that Jameson is not expected to require any amputations.
"It's better, but it's tough to say 'better,'" he said. "He's in a better spot than he could have been, that's for sure, with how bad it got for a couple days."
At first, the situation was dire.
"They gave him six vials of anti-venom, thinking that would be enough," Axford said. "Twenty-six is what he ended up getting."
The Rockies are off Thursday ahead of the Coors Field opener on Friday, so Axford will spend the day in Arizona. The team has another off-day next week between San Francisco and Los Angeles that will allow another visit.
Axford and his wife, Nicole, have been showered with well-wishes in the past two weeks, including many messages from former Brewers teammates and front-office employees. Before breaking camp, Brewers manager Ron Roenicke visited Jameson in the hospital.
"'Ax' was one of those guys, not only did he perform well that first year I was here, but he's a great guy," Roenicke said. "He's a guy everybody likes. Any time those guys you really care about and like goes somewhere else, you want them to do well."