Jonathan Broxton finally admits to elbow pain, is shut down -- and there's no closer in waiting [Updated]
On the morning after, he finally ’fessed up.
So now what?
Confirming what many suspected after his odd, labored performance Tuesday night, closer Jonathan Broxton finally admitted to the Dodgers on Wednesday morning that he was hurting.
The Dodgers immediately shut him down and quickly scheduled an MRI for his sore right elbow. The disabled list remains a real possibility, pending the results of the MRI.
How long the elbow has been bothering him was unclear, but Broxton's performance has varied wildly this season. He has converted on seven of eight save opportunities, but seldom in dominating fashion.
He clearly looked like he was hurting Tuesday night against the Cubs, walking two on eight consecutive balls. Manager Don Mattingly removed him at that point, and both runners scored to break up a 1-1 tie and lead Chicago to a 4-1 victory.
After the game, Broxton continued to say he was fine physically.
Shelving Broxton leaves the Dodgers without a true closer and in some serious trouble.
Which everyone knew was a possibility back in the offseason, after Broxton struggled so badly in the second half (2-6, 7.13 ERA) that he lost his closer role to Hong-Chih Kuo.
Kuo and Kenley Jansen were considered the next relievers in line to close, but both have struggled mightily this season and can’t be counted on. Jansen was even optioned back to triple-A Albuquerque, though Mattingly said he was likely to be called back up if Broxton goes on the disabled list.
Kuo just came off the disabled list with a sore back, and has 15.00 ERA and 2.67 WHIP in five games. There is concern he's having another bout of the yips.
Vicente Padilla is probably next up, though he just came off the DL himself following forearm surgery and he has never been a closer. They can't be using him back-to-back right away.
Based on performance and history, Mike MacDougal (0.96 ERA) would be the next best candidate. He has been a closer in the past and has 70 career saves.
Middle reliever Matt Guerrier (3.86 ERA, 1.35 WHIP) has five career saves.
[Updated at 3:55 p.m.: The Dodgers said after the game they would not know the results of the MRI until it is examined Thursday by Dr. Neal ElAttrache when the team arrives in New York.
Broxton said he doesn't feel the elbow pain while pitching, but later in the night as it tightens up.
"It doesn’t hurt when I’m throwing, it’s just afterward it stiffens up a little bit,'' Broxton said.
Broxton didn't believe it was impacting the way he threw, though left open the possibility.
"I don’t say that it isn’t,'' he said. "I mean, I could be trying to protect, but I don’t feel anything out there throwing."]
-- Steve Dilbeck
Photo: Jonathan Broxton. Credit: Kelvin Kuo / US Presswire