Jonathan Broxton has been a closer on the brink all season. Wednesday afternoon, the other cleat finally dropped.
MLB.com beat writer Ken Gurnick broke the news at 1:37 pm eastern — the Dodgers are shutting Broxton down indefinitely due to elbow pain. Broxton's last eight pitches in Tuesday's game were out of the zone, and he's battled velocity and location problems dating back to the middle of 2010. This news can't come as a shock to any rational viewer; the storm clouds have been ominously looming for a while. An MRI will come later this week.
There's no slam-dunk addition for gamers to make, but if you have Vicente Padilla available in your pool, look to him first. The veteran righty has been getting the eighth inning work of late (he also recorded a save on April 27) and he's probably got just enough control and bat-missing stuff to handle this promotion. Padilla is owned in just seven percent of Yahoo! leagues.
Hong-Chih Kuo (in a major funk right now) has long-term potential if he can get right, while strikeout ace Kenley Jansen is in the minors, trying to get it together. Matt Guerrier is also an option if Padilla can't handle the gig. It will be interesting to see how Don Mattingly spins his closer situation later on Wednesday.
While we wait on Mattingly's extended sound byte, let's get invested in Padilla. He's not an ideal candidate, but he's probably the best they've got at the moment.
2:40 pm update: And here's more from Gurnick; Mattingly is hinting at a committee.
Without using the word "committee," Mattingly indicated he would close by committee. Vicente Padilla was tabbed for the ninth inning Wednesday, but Mattingly won't use him on back-to-back days because of recent arm surgery. Hong-Chih Kuo inherited the closer job from Broxton last year, but he's had the yips and Mattingly said Kuo is "not throwing the way he's capable yet."
"I'm going to deal with what we have," Mattingly said. "We have [Matt] Guerrier, [Blake] Hawksworth, [Mike] MacDougal. If Kenley [Jansen] comes back, we have him."
I'd still grab Padilla first, but obviously there's a lot to sort out here.
Image courtesy Associated Press