Mattingly reassures Dodgers' Broxton

Mattingly reassures Dodgers' Broxton

Mattingly reassures Dodgers' Broxton
MIAMI -- Dodgers manager Don Mattingly told Jonathan Broxton he was still the Dodgers closer on Tuesday, clarifying comments general manager Ned Colletti made earlier in the day in a radio interview.

Colletti said he was concerned about Broxton's performance and indicated that the Dodgers could use a group of relievers at the end of the game until Broxton regains form.

"Of course," Colletti said when asked if he was concerned about Broxton during his weekly appearance on the Peter Tilden morning show on KABC Radio.

"I think I can't help but be concerned. I'm one of those people who's pretty much concerned about everything. We hope to get [Hong-Chih] Kuo back Friday. [Vicente] Padilla's been back a few days. We hope to give Donnie three choices or so at the end of the game and let him make up his mind based on matchups or whatever until Broxton can get his confidence back and get settled."

But when Colletti's comments were interpreted by media as a closer by committee, Mattingly called Broxton into his office to clarify.

"I saw it on TV -- closer by committee," said Broxton. "Until I hear it from somebody around here, it's basically hearsay.

"Donnie told me I'm the closer and to go from there. He told me I'm throwing the ball good. There are going to be days I'm [unavailable], and that might stir up more stuff. Right now, I'm still the closer."

Mattingly said he spoke with Colletti on Tuesday, and they were on the same page -- that Broxton was the team's closer, but a daily selection would depend on "availability and matchups. It's always been that way."

Because Broxton pitched on back-to-back days, he was not available Tuesday night, and Mattingly said he wasn't sure whom he would use in a save situation.

Broxton took his first blown save Monday night in the Dodgers' 5-4 loss to the Marlins, the two runs he allowed unearned. He retired the first two batters in the bottom of the ninth with a one-run lead, but walked No. 7 hitter Emilio Bonifacio. After a Hanley Ramirez pinch-hit single, shortstop Jamey Carroll drew an error on Scott Cousins' grounder and Jerry Sands misplayed Omar Infante's game-winning line drive.

Colletti in a later phone interview added: "We have to be open-minded that we have options, but nobody has saved more games on this staff than Jonathan Broxton. It's easy to discount what he's done right now, but you can't fully discount it.

"This is not a closer-by-committee situation. We can't say at this point how we're going to do it every day the rest of the season. It will depend on matchups and usage and who is the most capable or likely to get us through the last inning."

Broxton has been wobbly all month, a carryover from his disappointing second half last year when his velocity was down and his confidence apparently with it. He currently has a 4.35 ERA with 12 hits allowed in 10 1/3 innings and seven walks to eight strikeouts.

At his best in 2009, Broxton had a 2.61 ERA, 44 hits allowed in 76 innings and 114 strikeouts to 29 walks.

"Even if I was dead perfect, the best closer in baseball blows two back to back," he said. "It's going to happen. It's a matter of turning the page and coming out of it."

Broxton said he appreciated Mattingly's support.

"He knows how hard this game is," Broxton said. "Some people out there don't realize how hard the game is. It's probably the hardest game in sports. He's always positive. Even last year when I was struggling, he was always there for me and everyone on the team. It's always better to have a manager that knows the grind, 162 games and all that. He's a guy that rides with you."