As far as first time outs go, the Dodgers had to be thrilled with the reports on Jonathan Broxton's inning of work at Triple-A Albquerque on Tuesday.

Forget the results: one hit, one run and two strikeouts. The Dodgers were focused more on the consistent 97 and 98 mph readings on the radar gun, a positive sign Broxton indeed might be on the road to recovery from a bone bruise in his right elbow.

Broxton has been on the disabled list six weeks, and there is no telling how much the injury limited him over the past year or so.

What the Dodgers do know is Broxton was hitting 97-98 on the guns last year, then fell all the way down to 91 this spring and into the early part of the regular season.

"That's why we kind of figured something was wrong, no matter what he was saying," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. "We knew something was wrong.

"When a guy goes from 98 to 99 and a year later he's at 91, something is going on. That usually doesn't lie. That's a big difference."

Mattingly isn't about to start penciling Broxton into the closer's role, but he admitted to at least thinking about the possibility, provided Broxton continues to show he's recovered from the injury.

A healthy, effective Broxton at closer would mean a better Dodgers bullpen, more solidified roles among the relievers and, of course, a manager who can sleep a little easier.