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Broxton demoted from closer role

Broxton demoted from closer role

ATLANTA -- The day after Jonathan Broxton's monumental meltdown in Philadelphia, manager Joe Torre said the All-Star closer had lost his job, at least temporarily until he regains confidence.

Torre also revealed that he told Broxton a week ago he would be sharing the closer role with Hong-Chih Kuo, but it did not become evident because the situations did not arise.

"I just told him [Friday] I would take him out of that role right now," said Torre. "He just needs to have a couple outings to get his feet back under him again. We need to get the guy we had back. Physically, he's fine."

Torre said Kuo would be his first call to close, but because of the lefty's brittle elbow, his would be a "limited engagement," sharing the load with recent acquisition Octavio Dotel and even rookie Kenley Jansen. He said when Kuo pitches on back-to-back days, the second day would only be for one hitter.

"We need to plan on winning more than every other day," Torre said.

But Torre also said he expected Broxton to reclaim the closer role.

"Absolutely," Torre said. "He was the All-Star closer, for crying out loud. He's the reason the National League will have the home-field advantage [in the World Series, because Broxton saved the All-Star Game]. This game will beat you up. You need to fight back. He's of a mind to earn it back. He's not burying his head in the sand. He needs to get his confidence back. The quicker we get this thing solved, the more comfortable we'll all be."

Torre said he would use Broxton in late-game situations, but not save situations. Broxton has converted 21 of 26 save situations with a 3.50 ERA, but Thursday night in Philadelphia, he didn't retire a batter while letting a three-run lead disappear into a crushing 10-9 loss. His ERA in July was 7.45.

Torre was asked if usage could be a cause of Broxton's wildness.

"I don't think so. I think it's more here," Torre said, pointing to his head.

Broxton, who was not available for comment before Friday night's game, would go on to toss a scoreless eighth inning against the Braves.

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