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

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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Just a short while ago Mattingly called Broxton into his office and told him he still the closer despite what Ned said.

If Mattingly continues to use Broxton, we may see why the Yankees went with Girardi.

The Dodgers hands were tied when it came to Mattingly, Torre had it set up in a contract and even though they wanted to go with Tim Wallach, they had to name Mattingly manager.

The team deserves better than this. They work hard all game to put themselves in a spot to win and then have a fat guy come in and destroy there hard work.

I wonder if Doug Rau feels good when Broxton comes in.

Geez, a woman would never get away with being that fat and expect to be taken seriously as an athlete. But if you're a guy, you're given another cheeseburger and called a "big, strong boy." Broxton had some bad defense behind him yesterday, but he's blown too many saves. The problem is, who replaces him?

I don't see anything controversial about Colletti's comments.
The writing is definitely on the wall here, even though yesterday Brox wasn't entirely at fault and nowhere nearly the same since the middle of last year.

Who the heck is the Dodgers' pitching coach? Someone to tell Broxton to go after hitters instead of nibbling on the corners. If Broxton can't be agressive, trade him now and get some value.

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

Words were never more true. For a pitcher with such an overwhelming physical presence on the mound, Broxton sure seems to struggle to dominate the way we had hoped.
He never blows hitters away the way he seems to after runners have scored, or the save is already blown. He sometimes nibbles with his 2nd or 3rd best pitch out of the zone, when its clear he could barrel down a fast ball with some of the best.

Good riddance Broxton, welcome PADILLA TIME

WASTE OF TIME

I agree Big John's been shaky this year, but if Carrol fields the routine grounder yesterday... Game's over.

Broxton in 2011 -- Fewer strikeouts than innings pitched for the first time in his career, highest WHIP since his rookie year, several miles off on his fastball. The writing is on the wall in large letters. We need to look at someone else or two or more to fill the closer spot, but the question is who.

But if Broxton doesn't walk Bonafacio then give up a hit to Ramirez, Carroll isn't in the position to boot the grounder.

He's nibbling because his fastball is at 90 - 92 mph. Without the 98-99 mph fastball, his other pitches are no good. The hitters have figured out his change-up and splitter, so he's getting killed.

He's been a sitting duck ever since Rob Cano tagged him last year for the game winner. He'd probably want to lose a little weight to get some velocity back. He doesn't have the killer mentality right now either, so a change in direction is needed. You gotta have somebody there you can trust that throws harder or have better control and has confidence. Jonathan doesn't have any of this right now, but I hope he gets it back soon. If anything, he should start pitching his 90 mph fastball very close inside a couple of times to throw off the hitters, then drop a splitter tailing away.

The guy's velocity is down anywhere from 6-10 mph. He's wild. His pitches have no movement. I'm of the opinion that he's either hiding a rotator cuff problem (not too convincingly) or Bunnynutts is the worst pitching coach of all time. Evidence suggests a lot of both. Wade, Brox, Billz, Tronco, Belli, Jansen - most regressed at one point or another under Bunny. As long as they got rid of Schaeffer, Duncan and Bowa, they should've cleaned house totally and gotten rid of Honeycutt as well. Now would a new pitching coach help Brox? Probably not anymore, but you have to start somewhere.

Brox has confidence issues (and weight issues too) but last night was a "save" for him in my book. Carroll botches the save. Then Sands tags Brox with the loss by stepping in on the fly ball instead of taking a first step back. All with 2 outs - those two are outs. Come on, let's get Brox right. He can throw 100 mph. He just has to stop throwing them right down the plate. Someone believed in Bills and he's come back OK. Let's not just junk a guy who has great stuff.

the issue with Broxton is that he doesn't appear to have that edge that every closer must live with and die with. A closer, much like an NHL goalie and other positions in sports, must have a snarl, chip on their shoulder and a short memory. I don't think Broxton ever got over the NASA inspired shot that Stairs hit off him in the NCLS a few years ago and then to have another light hitting player, Rollins, hits game winning double off him in yet another NLCS game doesn't bode well for him; shades of Ozzie's homer off Niedenfeur in 85.

Since those moments Broxton has not had that edge to him and it shows in his approach to hitters and it permeates in his pitch sequence/velocity. Either way, you have to stick with him, because...well nobody in the pen has the credentials to take his spot. Kuo is awesome when he is healthy, that is the key....healthy. Additionally, he has had three Tommy John surgeries, so he cant be burden with the typical closer work load. So until the Dodgers find another closer, preferably within the organization, this will be the scenario. Give Broxton a 3 run lead because he is prone to give up a pair.

Go Dodgers!

Im sorry but Colletti needs to keep his mouth shut and let Donnie run the team. It brings bad karma to the team when he runs his mouth like he did last year...

that's right Jess....and if Broxton doesn't walk a singles hitter and give up a hit right after that we're not even in that situation.

It is Honeycutt's coaching that has reduced this man-child's confidence.
Having a 300lb. hulk who throws upper 90's up to triple figures in velocity and converting him to a nibbler (Honeycutt's M.O. as a player) is like having a Clydesdale giving "pony rides" in the park.
His best years are being wasted.

steve r, youre right on the money.

i think that comes from him not having confidence in his stuff.
seems like he gets that way when his velocity is off..
im not sure though.

Broxton was never the right guy for closer, never. He was an outstanding setup guy and should have remained so.

Come on Mattingly, how many more losses is it going to take to force your hand??? Broxton cannot save games right now, wether it's his velocity, his confidence, walks, who cares, this is about the team not about an individual's feelings, demote him to a set-up pitcher and let's try someone else.

Broxton is not the same closer that the dodgers had 2 yrs ago. ITS TIME FOR CHANGE! The guy struggles and gives up leads. If i was a teamate id want a change also. Starting pitching is solid BULLPEN SUCKS

Yes, he's out of the inning and the game is over if Carroll makes that play. But I also didn't like the way he pitched to Bonifacio...geez, just go after the guy. Then he gives up the single to Ramirez, putting guys on first and third. Of course, the game goes to extra innings if Sands catches Infante's liner. I think his best fastball was 95 mph...not bad, but not close to his usual 97 or 98. Not sure what the deal is there. Anyway, I have no problem with him being the closer. It can't be Kuo, because he's not able to pitch in consecutive games. And I'm not sure I trust Padilla...or Jansen. All that said, he threw 27 pitches last night, so he may not be available tonight.

Broxton needs to lose 50 pounds, might help. All that girth cannot be good for him. He's a pitcher not an offensive lineman. Next time Honeycutt picks up the bullpen phone, maybe he should call Jenny Craig.

I hate to say it, but I think Broxton is going to go Donnie Moore.

Big Butt...you have lost IT!

when a closer loses his confidence, it's tough to get it back. as someone previously mentioned, broxton hasn't been the same since he gave up that "moonshot" to matt stairs in nlcs in 2008! BTW, HAS THAT BALL COME DOWN FROM SPACE YET, HA HA! mentally, he just doesn't haveit! yes, carroll booted the balll, yes, sands botched the ball in left field.....BUT, it all started with a two out walk to a guy who has ONE CAREER HOME RUN! my former high school coach, the late, great john herbold (l.b. poly high, lakewood high and cal-state L.A.)use to say, "there's no defense for the walk!" broxton proved that the other night. it's time for a change, 'cuz he can't take the pressure situations anymore!

C'mon Broxton, it wasn't even Matt Satirs at the plate.

My take, go with Kuo and Padilla. Trade Broxton to another team for an outfield prospect.

You think?

If that was the conversation between Donnie and Honey with Brox before the game, then I gotta tell you watching Brox is getting to be like watching Costner in Tin Cup hit 5 balls into the water on 18 before making 12.

And as the late Frank Chirkinian advised in the truck, "somebody tackle the guy and stop him."

I say trade him while he still has some value. I can't guarantee there will be an improvement but its worth a try. I know what happens if no changes are made, we've been watching it.

It's not fair to criticize Broxton when game should've ended on the ground ball to short.

Achieving the status of a fire-breathing big league closer is a tenuous position at best. Except for a few mighty specimens, your reign can be counted on one hand. If he's washed up, Broxton gave it a good run. Good; not spectacular. I believe it was two years in a row he blinked during the playoff showdowns against the Phillies. Or was it two games? Either way, don't be so dang mean you guys! You'll be cheering Broxton at old timers' events in a few years.

agree with Labeldude. For the last year it looks like Broxton's shoulder hurts. Loss of velocity, loss of control and lack of extension when he throws his fastball. MacDougal has filthy stuff if he throws strikes. Looks like a closer to me until Jansen is ready.

I agree with Labeldude. I've been thinking since late last season that Brox has been trying to pitch through an injury, which is probably why his velocity is way down and his pitches don't move.

I'm also not sure why they didn't ax Honey along with Schaeffer, Duncan and Bowa. Honey was probably the least effective coach on Torre's staff and this one makes him look even worse.

How in the heck did Doug Rau's name get drawn into this conversation. I see no possible correlation.

Broxton: Forget about the splitter! All you need is a 97mph fastball and an 88mph change-up. THAT'S IT!

And quit being a wuss and pitch inside when the batter digs in.

The mere fact that Fatso Broxton showed up this season wider than a set of French doors shows that he is an unprofessional tub of goo who lacks the capabilities to be a major league closer. He stunk last year and showed up fatter than ever. Nice going, lardo.

Broxton has never been the most confidence inspiring closer. Even when he could actually rear back a throw a fast ball past someone, he still usually gave up a hit or two before getting the save. In the few years he's been the closer I can't remember very many times he has come in and recorded three straight outs. I'm not sure what his lifetime era is, but for a guy who only pitches 1 inning a game you'd hope he could keep it well below the 4+ era he's carrying today.


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