The numbers indicate otherwise, but Jonathan Broxton says he's close to being the pitcher who early last season was among the dominant closers in baseball. A pitcher who: •Converted 18 consecutive save opportunities. •Had an earned-run average of 0.83 through June 26. •Earned the save in the All-Star game. "I'm very close to it," Broxton says. Still, he acknowledges that he hasn't completely recovered from a brutal second half of last season, during which he was replaced by Hong-Chih Kuo as the Dodgers' ninth-inning man. Where Broxton says he needs to be is in "attack mode," which means, "you go out there and there it is." Instead, he finds himself thinking a little too much. And when he thinks, he tends to nibble. And when he nibbles, he falls behind in counts. "Brox really didn't walk anybody before the break last year," Manager Don Mattingly says. "Now you see him get in trouble not getting ahead in that count. When you get ahead in that count, it puts [the hitter] in doubt. That makes the fastball jump on you and puts the guy at a disadvantage." Mattingly conveyed that message to Broxton when he called him to the manager's office on Tuesday in Miami. The primary purpose of the meeting was to reassure Broxton that he was still the Dodgers' closer, even though General Manager Ned Colletti had implied in a radio interview that the team would use a closer by committee. Broxton, who the previous day had blown his first save this season in six tries, says he agrees with Mattingly about the importance of not falling behind in counts. "When I was pitching last year, the first half, I guarantee you I was ahead of a lot of batters," he says. "Where I'm at now, I'm falling into 2-2 counts, 3-2 counts, pitching high into counts. It's not as easy."
Jonathan Broxton is counting on bouncing back
Los Angeles Times | Apr 29