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Canadian Axford announces retirement after 11 MLB seasons

John Axford John Axford - The Canadian Press

Canadian relief pitcher John Axford announced his retirement on Tuesday after 11 MLB seasons.

The Simcoe, Ont., native posted a heartfelt announcement on X reflecting on his baseball career.

Axford most recently pitched for Canada at the World Baseball Classic last March. 

"One year ago today, I walked off the mound for the last time! It took everything in my power not to cry immediately while leaving the field. My wave to the crowd was to my family. All 15 of them. I wanted them all there to experience it with me. When I looked up in to the crowd, and saw the excitement of my sons, parents, sisters and their husbands, my nieces and nephews…it was everything I could have ever wanted to end my career!," Axford wrote as part of the message. 

Now 40, Axford last pitched in the majors in 2021 while with the Milwaukee Brewers. He spent his first five big league seasons with Milwaukee, leading the National League in saves in 2011 and recording 35 saves the year after. Milwaukee traded Axford to the St. Louis Cardinals the season after and he continued to pitch out of the bullpen for years during stints with Cleveland, the Pittsburgh Pirates, Colorado Rockies and Oakland Athletics.

In 2018, Axford signed as a free agent with the Toronto Blue Jays, appearing in 45 games with his hometown team before being traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers at the trade deadline. After finishing that season in L.A., Axford did not pitch in the majors until re-joining the Brewers in 2021.

All in all, Axford owns a 3.90 big league ERA with 144 saves and 589 strikeouts in 525.2 innings spread out over 544 games.