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Jonathan Broxton out as full-time closer? Ned Colletti says it may be time for closer by committee [Updated]

April 26, 2011 |  1:53 pm

Photo: Jonathan Broxton returns to the dugout after giving up a run in the ninth inning against the St. Louis Cardinals on April 17. Credit: Gary A. Vasquez / US Presswire
General Manager Ned Colletti, who last year blasted Matt Kemp on Peter Tilden’s morning show on KABC-AM, returned to the show Tuesday. The Dodgers should run for cover next year.

This time it proved bad news for Jonathan Broxton.

Broxton fell apart in the second half last season, eventually losing his job as the closer and the confidence of most everyone in the process.

Dodgers Manager Don Mattingly, however, remained a believer. He made it clear before the start of spring training that Broxton would return to his closing role this season.

It may be for a brief stop.

Broxton converted his first five save opportunities this month, though none in particularly impressive fashion. His velocity seemed down, and he wasn't striking people out.

Then came Monday, when he got the first two outs with a one-run lead in the ninth in Miami, only to walk the light-hitting Emilio Bonifacio. The Dodgers hardly gave him strong defensive support -- Jamey Carroll committed an error, and rookie Jerry Sands misplayed Omar Infante's liner into a game-winning hit -- but the save was blown.

And so maybe is Broxton's role as the full-time closer. On Tuesday, Tilden asked Colletti if he was concerned about Broxton and he responded:

"Of course. You can't help but be concerned. I'm one of those people pretty much concerned about everything, anyway.

"I'm concerned a lot. Hopefully, we can get [Hong-Chih] Kuo back Friday and [Vicente] Padilla's been back a couple of games.

"Hopefully, we can give Donny three choices or so at the end of the game, let him make up his mind based on the match-ups or whatever, until Broxton can get his confidence back and get settled."

A confident Broxton goes after Bonifacio and blows him away. A shaky, less self-assured Broxton nibbles too much and lets him get away.

Kuo was hardly impressive before going on the disabled list with a lower back strain, and Padilla also struggled Monday in his second appearance of the season after coming off the DL.

Still, outside of possibly Mattingly, it's hard to find anyone who feels good, who feels confident when Broxton comes into close.

And to that, you can now add Colletti.

[Updated at 2:35 p.m.: But still not Mattingly. News of Colletti's comments had already reached the Dodgers clubhouse when Broxton arrived Tuesday. He was quickly called into a meeting with Mattingly and pitching coach Rick Honeycutt.

"[Mattingly] told me I'm still the closer,'' Broxton said.

Broxton added that they liked the way he was throwing the ball, but that they just wanted him to be more aggressive and mix in more splitters.]

-- Steve Dilbeck

Photo: Jonathan Broxton returns to the dugout after giving up a run in the ninth inning against the St. Louis Cardinals on April 17. Credit: Gary A. Vasquez / US Presswire

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