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Broxton out, but making progress

Broxton out, but making progress

MIAMI -- Reliever Jonathan Broxton reported improvement in his strained lat muscle Wednesday, but he remained unavailable to manager Joe Torre for the second consecutive game.

Broxton at least was able to play catch in the outfield before Wednesday's game, after having to shut it down when he tried on Tuesday.

"It's getting better," said Torre. "The good news is when he threw and sat for 30 minutes, it didn't get tight on him."

Broxton said he's had stiffness in the area below the right armpit in the past, "but this is different. It felt like it was grabbing."

Torre used three relievers Tuesday night for four scoreless innings -- two innings from Scott Proctor and one inning each from Joe Beimel and Takashi Saito -- after getting five innings from starter Derek Lowe.

Torre said matchups would dictate how he sets up the later innings while Broxton is out. Torre's starting pitchers are averaging less than 5 1/3 innings.

"That's where the whole bullpen action comes in," Torre said. "Ideally, if you get eight innings, or seven innings, great. If you get into the eighth, you don't overuse the relievers and you have more choices. We have to get into the seventh consistently if we're going to be consistent."

That's not something this Dodgers staff has done a lot of in recent years. In 188 games dating back through last year, Dodgers pitchers have gone nine innings twice and at least eight innings five other times. That's less than four percent of the time. Lowe is the only Dodger to make it eight innings this year.

"It'll happen," Torre predicted. "They have the capability. Pitchers should be capable of doing it. They have done it."

Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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