MINNEAPOLIS -- John Axford is still in line to close for the Brewers despite his recent struggles, manager Ron Roenicke said.

Axford pitched in his third consecutive game on Friday, working a scoreless ninth to preserve a 5-3 victory and earn his 11th save.

Roenicke said before the game that only fatigue from Axford's back-to-back appearances on Wednesday and Thursday would potentially keep him from closing on Friday against the Twins. Axford threw a total of 47 pitches during two blown saves each of the last two days.

"I'll talk to [pitching coach] Rick [Kranitz] and see how he's doing," Roenicke said. "If he still feels good, he'll be out there."

The right-hander matched his blown save total for all of 2011 with Wednesday and Thursday's games alone. Axford surrendered two walks and a triple on Wednesday in Kansas City, allowing the Royals to push the game to extra innings and eventually win in 11.

Axford appeared more in control on Thursday, striking out two of the first three batters he faced. But a wild pitch on one of those strikeouts put a runner on first, and an ensuing walk and single sealed Milwaukee's fate.

  • 142 wins
  • 110 wins

But Roenicke thinks Axford is wired well mentally to rebound from such struggles. Axford successfully converted 10 of 11 save opportunities this season before Wednesday.

"I think his personality is really good for the times when he does give it up," Roenicke said. "I guess more concerning would be he hasn't had that long stretch this year where he's been lights out. That's more concerning."

Roenicke said Axford might simply be trying to do too much, noting his velocity has been higher than it was last season. Axford also hasn't commanded his off-speed pitches as well as he did last year, according to Roenicke.

"We'll try to figure out what's going on with him," Roenicke said. "He still feels confident. He's still healthy. We know he'll get back."

Scarpetta undergoes Tommy John surgery

MINNEAPOLIS -- Brewers assistant general manager Gord Ash confirmed that right-hander Cody Scarpetta, a member of the club's 40-man roster, underwent elbow ligament replacement surgery last month and is out for the season.

Tommy John surgery usually requires a year-long rehabilitation, but the success rate of the procedure is high. The Brewers used the 23-year-old Scarpetta's final Minor League option in March.

"The reason why I did have this surgery is I do think I will be in the big leagues at some point, and, to me, I needed to have the surgery to pitch at that level," Scarpetta told television station WIFR in Rockford, Ill., which first reported the news.

Scarpetta ranked No. 18 on MLB.com's list of the Top 20 Brewers prospects entering the season.

Scarpetta was Milwaukee's 11th-round Draft pick in 2007 and was immediately added to the 40-man roster because of an injury-related rules technicality. He is 21-28 with a 3.61 ERA in four Minor League seasons.

Brewers sign 21 Draft picks

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Brewers announced the signings of 21 additional players from the 2012 First-Year Player Draft on Friday, including supplemental first-round pick Mitch Haniger.

Haniger, an outfielder from Cal Poly, tweeted on Friday that he passed a physical and flew to Milwaukee to sign his contract. He received a $1.2 million signing bonus, according to a baseball source.

Second-rounder Tyrone Taylor, an outfielder from Torrance H.S. (Calif.), signed for $750,000, according to Baseball America. MLB's recommended pick value for the slot was $523,600, so the figure represents Milwaukee's first notable over-slot signing of this Draft class.

Fourth-round pick Tyler Wagner, a right-handed pitcher from Utah, tweeted that he signed his contract and will report to rookie-level Helena.

The Brewers have now signed 12 of their first 15 selections, including the signings of first-rounders Clint Coulter and Victor Roache, announced on June 8.

Last call

• Brewers farm director Reid Nichols confirmed on Friday that the club signed Cuban right-hander Rodolfo Fernandez to a contract with an undisclosed bonus. Fernandez will begin the season with rookie-level Helena, Nichols said. He is a 6-2, 220-pound 22-year-old, according to Brewerfan.net.