Axelrod Completes Long Road To Majors For White Sox

CHICAGO—The 2,300-mile drive Dylan Axelrod was prepared to make from Lawrenceville, Ga., to his hometown of Santa Barbara, Calif., took a sudden, pleasant detour.

About two hours before Axelrod embarked on his journey following the end of a successful minor league season, he received a call that he was being promoted to the big leagues.

So while his car, packed full of clothes and belongings, stayed in Georgia, Axelrod flew to Minneapolis to join his new teammates and complete an amazing trip, only two years after being cut by the Padres and pitching in the independent Frontier League.

"I knew I had a great year and was hoping (to get promoted)," said Axelrod, 26, who went a combined 9-3, 2.69 in 26 games between Double-A Birmingham and Triple-A Charlotte. "But after the initial callups, it did come as a surprise."

Axelrod's forte is control that compensates for a fastball clocked in the high-80s. He walked just 32 while striking out 135 in 151 innings.

He immediately made a favorable impression on Sept. 6 by pitching two scoreless innings of relief in his major league debut, and he limited American League Central champion Detroit to two runs on six hits in six innings in his first start. He was 1-0, 2.89 in 19 innings with 19 strikeouts overall.

"You throw strikes and you're around the plate and make people make contact, that's a good thing for this kid," then-manager Ozzie Guillen said. "It's a great chance for him coming all the way from where he came from to be in the big leagues."

Axelrod had been accustomed to major league life before his major league debut. His uncle, Barry Axelrod, is a prominent sports agent whose clients have included former standouts Mark Grace, Rick Sutcliffe and Jake Peavy.

He also is the first former Windy City ThunderBolts alumnus to reach the majors.
"At that point, I was going to give it my best shot and have fun," Axelrod said. "And not let the stress get to me anymore and enjoy the game and see what happens. It took off from there."


• Righthanders Nevin Griffith, Jacob Petricka and Brandon Kloess were added to the Mesa Solar Sox roster of the Arizona Fall League.

• The White Sox acquired a pair of 23-year-olds, righthander Jhan Marinez and shortstop Ozzie Martinez, from the Marlins in exchange for Guillen.