IN BRIEF | MLB


Indians close deal with closer Axford

CLEVELAND — The Indians have completed a $4.5 million, one-year contract with free agent closer John Axford.

Axford replaces two-time All-Star Chris Perez, who was released in October after Cleveland made its first playoff appearance since 2007. Axford, who saved 46 games for Milwaukee in 2011, agreed to the contract earlier this week, pending a physical.

The 30-year-old right-hander lost his closer’s job early last season and was traded to St. Louis in August. He went a combined 7-7 with a 4.02 ERA in 75 appearances for the Brewers and Cardinals. He also blew seven saves.

Axford has a 22-19 career record with a 3.29 ERA and 106 saves in 281 relief appearances.

A’s acquire outfielder Brown from Nats

OAKLAND, Calif. — In yet another December trade by general manager Billy Beane, the Oakland Athletics have acquired outfielder Corey Brown from the Washington Nationals for cash.

Brown has played in 36 major league games in parts of three seasons, batting .175 with two homers and four RBIs.

After recently trading Seth Smith to San Diego, the addition of Brown provides further depth to an outfield figuring to feature Yoenis Cespedes in left field, Coco Crisp in center and Josh Reddick in right.

The 28-year-old Brown, a first-round pick by Oakland in the 2007 amateur draft out of Oklahoma State, can play all three outfield positions.

White Sox agree to deal with Belisario

CHICAGO — The Chicago White Sox have agreed to a $3 million, one-year contract with right-hander Ronald Belisario and are closing in on a $4 million, one-year deal with pitcher Scott Downs.

Chicago announced the agreement with Belisario on Thursday. The talks with Downs were revealed by a person familiar with the situation who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the deal had not been announced.

The 30-year-old Belisario was 5-7 with a 3.97 ERA in 77 games with the Dodgers and 20-12 with a 3.29 ERA over four years. He became a free agent when Los Angeles failed to offer a contract by the Dec. 2 deadline.

By wire sources