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Surgery for Jonathan Broxton goes well, but now what?

September 19, 2011 |  1:41 pm

Broxton_640 And now what becomes of Jonathan Broxton?

Broxton underwent minor right elbow surgery Monday to remove a bone spur and loose bodies, a procedure that, of course, was deemed successful.

Broxton hasn’t been seen on a pitching mound for the Dodgers since May 3, his 2010 season reduced to slightly longer than a month, or 12 2/3 innings.

He was initially diagnosed with a bruised bone in his elbow, and then when that healed and the pain persisted, the spur was identified as the problem.

The procedure performed by Dr. Neal ElAttrache was not considered major surgery and Broxton is expected to begin a rehab program within days and be able to start throwing again in six to eight weeks.

By then, of course, he will no longer be a Dodger. His $7-million contract expires at the season’s end, at which time he’ll become a free agent.

As his own agent, BB Abbott admitted to The Times' Dylan Hernandez, Broxton may no longer be able to simply throw the ball past hitters.

"The days of Jonathan Broxton throwing 99 and 100 [mph] might be over," Abbott said. "But I think he can reinvent himself. He's still going to be 93-97.

"He's relied on one thing and that's power. … He's going to have to be a chameleon. It might be a power slider or a power cutter. He's going to have to transition."

Going through a transition while proving you’ve healed from injury is not going to attract Broxton a multiyear contract. Abbott is already talking about him signing a one-year contract while re-establishing his value.

Broxton’s decline from All-Star closer to unreliable reliever to injured right-hander can be traced back to that 48-pitch meltdown against the Yankees June 27, 2010. At the time, he had a 0.83 ERA. Since then, he’s had a combined 7.02 ERA.

Abbott doesn’t blame that game and believes time simply caught up with someone throwing so hard and violently. What Broxton is thinking is difficult to tell, since he has stopped talking to reporters.

Abbott said Broxton plans to test the market but is open to returning to the Dodgers and would not demand the closer’s role, simply the opportunity to compete for it.

In his absence, rookie Javy Guerra has saved 18 of 19 games and Kenley Jansen has struck out 15.7 hitters per nine innings. The bullpen is almost the only area without glaring need for next season.

Broxton excelled as a set-up man before he became the team’s closer, so that role is not foreign territory. And they’ve been patient with him this long, so his return in an incentive-laden contract hardly seems out of the question. He’s still only 27, so there remains a future, if an unclear one.

ALSO:

Jerry Sands keeps pushing for a job on Dodgers next year

Clayton Kershaw makes those Sandy Koufax comparisons plausible

-- Steve Dilbeck

Photo: Jonathan Broxton. Credit: Christina House / For The Times

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