Weiss returns Axford to Rockies' closer role

Weiss returns Axford to Rockies' closer role

DENVER -- Rockies manager Walt Weiss said Tuesday that John Axford "looks like himself," and therefore has been placed back in the team's closer role.

Weiss lifted Axford after a blown save in St. Louis on July 30 -- his fourth blown save in five appearances. Since then he has a 5.40 ERA in eight games, but all of the runs occurred over two appearances.

Righty Tommy Kahnle hasn't exactly put his clutches around the job, with his 7.50 ERA while going 2-for-3 on save chances in his last six outings. But Weiss said the decision has more to do with Axford, who is 16-for-21 on save chances since taking over when Adam Ottavino suffered a season-ending elbow injury.

"I look at Axford as he's been our closer for the most part since 'Otto' went down," Weiss said. "He went through some tough times, but I feel like he's righted the ship. We'll plug him back in."

Axford's struggles are only part of a bullpen that has become a sore spot. The Rockies' 4.83 relief ERA, .274 batting average against and 162 walks all represent Major League highs.

Worth noting:

• Righty Chad Bettis (5-4, 4.88 ERA in 13 starts), on the disabled list with right shoulder inflammation, will make his second Minor League injury rehab start Thursday for Triple-A Albuquerque -- 80-85 pitches at Nashville. Bettis threw 58 pitches in 3 1/3 innings for Double-A New Britain against Binghamton on Saturday.

• Righty Kyle Kendrick, who hasn't pitched since July 31 and recently had an anti-inflammatory shot for his right shoulder, threw his second bullpen session -- 20 pitches -- since going onto the disabled list. Kendrick will throw a bullpen session on Friday and pitch in a simulated game when the Rockies go to Atlanta early next week, then be a candidate for a rehab assignment. 

"The shot cleared out everything in there that I had, and it's feeling better now," said Kendrick, who has struggled to the tune of 26 homers allowed this season.

• Righty Tyler Chatwood, who is recovering from last July's Tommy John surgery and still optimistic he can appear in a game this season, will throw his second simulated game Wednesday at Coors Field. 

• Rockies outfielder Carlos Gonzalez, through his foundation, had 433 in attendance for the Carlos Gonzalez Celebrity Bowling Event on Monday at Lucky Strike in downtown Denver. The event benefits Denver Kids and the Boys and Girls Clubs of Metro Denver. An official for the foundation said financial figures are still being tabulated from Monday, but leading up to Monday he has raised $220,000 this year.

Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb, and like his Facebook page. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.