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08/25/08 8:35 PM ET
Dodgers display confidence in Broxton
Torre speaks with fill-in closer after stretch of tough outings
By Michael Schwartz / MLB.com
PHILADELPHIA -- A day after Jonathan Broxton suffered a blown save following a stretch of two losses in his past three appearances, Dodgers manager Joe Torre said he would stay with what he has been doing in the ninth inning by using matchups to determine his closer. But since Takashi Saito went down with an elbow injury just before the All-Star break, Broxton has gotten the bulk of the save opportunities, saving 10-of-12 games, while Hong-Chih Kuo has saved 1-of-2 and Chan Ho Park 1-of-1. "I would rather just split the eighth and ninth in the way we've basically been doing it," Torre said. "We're trying to make it as easy for that guy as possible." Torre said he met with Broxton on Monday and told him he has two things going for him that he should not want to trade for anything: he has a great deal of ability and he's not afraid. Now he just needs to package that and be more consistent. Torre also told Broxton how Mariano Rivera was not initially comfortable when he went from being the Yankees' setup man in 1996 to their closer in 1997 before eventually acclimating himself to the position he has dominated since. "It's a human thing that you have to grow into, and the fact this thing was thrust upon this kid not in Spring Training, but during the season, it's a consistency that he hasn't been able to come up with," Torre said. "I think it's just going to be the growing part. I think the role he can handle, but he's just going to have to find that mental approach." After blowing Sunday's save, Broxton said he has found his shoulder flying open at times in recent outings. Bullpen coach Ken Howell watched video with Broxton on Monday trying to correct the flaw. Torre said that type of thing sometimes happens to a hard thrower when he muscles up to get more velocity, especially a 6-foot-4, 290-pound pitcher like Broxton. "Big body like his gets out of rhythm, and then the more he tries to straighten it out, there's a lot of moving pieces," Torre said.
Michael Schwartz is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.