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Joe Torre says Jonathan Broxton's exact role less vital than winning games

August 26, 2010 | 12:09 pm

After Jonathan Broxton pitched a 1-2-3 inning against the Milwaukee Brewers on Wednesday night, Dodgers Manager Joe Torre was asked Thursday if that meant the burly right-hander was ready to resume his role as the Dodgers' closer.

Broxton "I don't think I can make a plan right now," Torre replied before the teams played their series finale on a gorgeous day at Miller Park. "His being our closer isn't as important as our needing to win games."

After earning a save in this year's All-Star game for the National League, Broxton struggled and Torre temporarily replaced him as the Dodgers' closer with left-hander Hong-Chih Kuo.

When he entered Wednesday night's game in the eighth inning against Milwaukee, Broxton appeared "tentative" at first, but once he "settled in, that was the guy I'm comfortable watching," Torre said.

"But just to put people in their -- quote, unquote -- roles as set-up man, closer, at this point in time with 30-something games left, that’s not really important," Torre said. "We’re just trying to win games and try to utilize everybody and do what makes sense.”

And Broxton himself? He declined to discuss it except to say "I just want to pitch."

The Dodgers entered Thursday's game 5 1/2 games behind the San Francisco Giants and Philadelphia Phillies in the NL wild-card race, and 12 games behind the San Diego Padres in the NL West.

--Jim Peltz in Milwaukee

Photo: Dodgers reliever Jonathan Broxton reacts to giving up two runs in the ninth inning against the Cincinnati Reds on Sunday in the Dodgers' 5-2 loss at Dodger Stadium. Credit: Gary A. Vasquez / US Presswire