Mattingly reassures Dodgers' Broxton
Colletti expresses concern; LA closer remains confident
MIAMI -- Dodgers manager Don Mattingly told Jonathan Broxton he was still the Dodgers closer on Tuesday, clarifying comments general manager Ned Colletti made earlier in the day in a radio interview.
Colletti said he was concerned about Broxton's performance and indicated that the Dodgers could use a group of relievers at the end of the game until Broxton regains form.
"Of course," Colletti said when asked if he was concerned about Broxton during his weekly appearance on the Peter Tilden morning show on KABC Radio.
"I think I can't help but be concerned. I'm one of those people who's pretty much concerned about everything. We hope to get [Hong-Chih] Kuo back Friday. [Vicente] Padilla's been back a few days. We hope to give Donnie three choices or so at the end of the game and let him make up his mind based on matchups or whatever until Broxton can get his confidence back and get settled."
But when Colletti's comments were interpreted by media as a closer by committee, Mattingly called Broxton into his office to clarify.
"I saw it on TV -- closer by committee," said Broxton. "Until I hear it from somebody around here, it's basically hearsay.
"Donnie told me I'm the closer and to go from there. He told me I'm throwing the ball good. There are going to be days I'm [unavailable], and that might stir up more stuff. Right now, I'm still the closer."
Mattingly said he spoke with Colletti on Tuesday, and they were on the same page -- that Broxton was the team's closer, but a daily selection would depend on "availability and matchups. It's always been that way."
Because Broxton pitched on back-to-back days, he was not available Tuesday night, and Mattingly said he wasn't sure whom he would use in a save situation.
Broxton took his first blown save Monday night in the Dodgers' 5-4 loss to the Marlins, the two runs he allowed unearned. He retired the first two batters in the bottom of the ninth with a one-run lead, but walked No. 7 hitter Emilio Bonifacio. After a Hanley Ramirez pinch-hit single, shortstop Jamey Carroll drew an error on Scott Cousins' grounder and Jerry Sands misplayed Omar Infante's game-winning line drive.
Colletti in a later phone interview added: "We have to be open-minded that we have options, but nobody has saved more games on this staff than Jonathan Broxton. It's easy to discount what he's done right now, but you can't fully discount it.
"This is not a closer-by-committee situation. We can't say at this point how we're going to do it every day the rest of the season. It will depend on matchups and usage and who is the most capable or likely to get us through the last inning."
Broxton has been wobbly all month, a carryover from his disappointing second half last year when his velocity was down and his confidence apparently with it. He currently has a 4.35 ERA with 12 hits allowed in 10 1/3 innings and seven walks to eight strikeouts.
At his best in 2009, Broxton had a 2.61 ERA, 44 hits allowed in 76 innings and 114 strikeouts to 29 walks.
"Even if I was dead perfect, the best closer in baseball blows two back to back," he said. "It's going to happen. It's a matter of turning the page and coming out of it."
Broxton said he appreciated Mattingly's support.
"He knows how hard this game is," Broxton said. "Some people out there don't realize how hard the game is. It's probably the hardest game in sports. He's always positive. Even last year when I was struggling, he was always there for me and everyone on the team. It's always better to have a manager that knows the grind, 162 games and all that. He's a guy that rides with you."
Swelling in elbow keeps Blake out
MIAMI -- Casey Blake, who missed Monday night's Dodgers game at Sun Life Stadium with groin tightness that was considered minor, missed Tuesday night's game against the Marlins with a swollen bursa sac of the left elbow that could be something serious.
Blake said the elbow swelled to "a pretty good size," and he ran a fever, which concerned the medical staff that it might be infected. He saw a doctor and had the swelling drained, but the infielder was in no shape to play.
"It's a little scary for us," said manager Don Mattingly. "The biggest fear is it gets infected. He was flu-ish, sweating through the sheets. He looks like he's got the flu."
Blake said he felt the swelling during Monday night's game and iced the elbow after the game, but it worsened overnight. He suspected the swelling was the result of diving for a ball, but couldn't remember any play he could link to the injury.
Pirates claim Paul from Dodgers
MIAMI -- Outfielder Xavier Paul, designated for assignment by the Dodgers on April 18 to make room for Jerry Sands, was claimed by the Pittsburgh Pirates on Tuesday.
Paul, 26, was out of options and made the Dodgers 25-man roster out of Spring Training. He appeared in only seven games, going 3-for-11.
A fourth-round pick in the 2003 First-Year Player Draft, Paul had callups in 2009 and '10, but both seasons were cut short by injuries he suffered.
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.