LOS ANGELES -- Dodgers closer Jonathan Broxton has an ERA of 6.14, but his manager issued another vote of confidence in the right-hander Tuesday.
"To me, he's getting better," Don Mattingly said of Broxton, who entered Monday night's game with a four-run lead and let the Braves cut it in half before finishing out the Dodgers' 4-2 win.
"I want him to be finishing games. I like to see more of a 'hit-this' type attitude. His velocity is better and he seems more confident in himself. I know he's giving up runs, but I like the way he's throwing. I like him. It looks to me like he's gaining confidence."
Broxton has converted all five of his save opportunities, but he's lacked the overpowering results that made him a two-time All-Star. Velocity that once regularly lit up the radar gun in triple figures hovered around 95 mph Monday night until his last strikeout pitch at 97. In the mid-90s, Broxton can't overpower hitters with mistake pitches.
He has five strikeouts in 7 1/3 innings, but he's never had a season with fewer strikeouts than innings pitched. His 11.70 strikeouts per nine innings is the best mark in the Major Leagues since 2005.
He's already allowed two home runs, equaling his total from 2008. In 2009 and 2010, he allowed four homers per season.
Broxton pitched Sunday and Monday, and Mattingly was unsure if he would be available for a third consecutive game. Mattingly said in that situation, with Hong-Chih Kuo on the disabled list, he wasn't sure who would close.
"It could be Matt [Guerrier], [Mike] MacDougal has been really good, [Blake] Hawksworth," Mattingly offered as candidates. "It's the best guy for the matchups and also what we had to do to get there. I'm not afraid of using any of them."
Padilla solid in rehab, could return by Friday
LOS ANGELES -- Disabled Dodgers reliever Vicente Padilla pitched 1 1/3 scoreless innings with three strikeouts in his second Minor League rehabilitation Tuesday night for Class A Rancho Cucamonga and could be activated for the upcoming trip that starts Friday in Chicago.
Padilla allowed a leadoff single and had two strikeouts in the first inning. As planned, he came back on for the second inning and struck out the only batter he faced before being removed.
On Sunday, he allowed a run on two hits in one inning.
Padilla is returning from Feb. 24 surgery to free an entrapped radial nerve in his right forearm and is expected to move into the Dodgers' bullpen, which is now without disabled All-Star lefty Hong-Chih Kuo.
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.