Broxton makes triumphant debut with Reds
Throws scoreless eighth inning to delight of crowd
CINCINNATI -- Jonathan Broxton couldn't have asked for a much better greeting in Cincinnati.
The newly-acquired reliever was called upon in his first night in a Reds uniform and pitched a perfect eighth inning to help secure the Reds' 6-4 win against the Padres on Wednesday night.
Broxton struck out Mark Kotsay to start the eighth and threw out the next two batters on two dribblers back to the mound.
He left to a standing ovation from the crowd Great American Ball Park.
"That was nice. They have great fans here and they're real respecting," said Broxton, who hadn't pitched since last Tuesday. "I had a lot of adrenaline out there. I don't know how much longer that can go, but especially for the first day, I had a lot of adrenaline."
Broxton (1-2, 2.21 ERA) had only been in town for a few hours before making his debut.
The Reds traded two Minor League pitchers to Kansas City for their new reliever just hours before the close of the Trade Deadline on Tuesday afternoon, and Broxton was on the mound the following evening.
"It's crazy to get the phone call yesterday and I spent all night packing up," Broxton said. "I finally got to bed around 2:30. I packed up the whole house and I got the wife and kids out this morning and got on a plane and came here."
The addition of Broxton adds an All-Star arm to an already robust Reds bullpen that leads the Majors with 21 relief victories and a 2.61 ERA, and tops the National League with a .216 opponents' batting average.
Wednesday was the first night that the Reds got to test out their new late-inning bullpen rotation, with Broxton working as the setup man for closer Aroldis Chapman.
"Boy, it sure is nice to have both of them in there, especially throwing strikes," said Reds manager Dusty Baker. "It gives us some more strength and a power arm in the bullpen."
Chapman recorded his 23rd save of the season on Wednesday, but Baker said the club will also use Broxton, who also has 23 saves this year, to close out games on days where Chapman is resting.
"We started looking at some numbers last night and [the Reds are] putting up some impressive numbers," Broxton said. "I've just got to continue to go out there on a day-by-day basis and continue to work hard and get better each day. They have a great ballclub here and a real good pitching staff, so hopefully I can fit in and continue to win games here."
The Reds have continued to win games throughout July and now sit a season-high 22 games above .500 after winning 19 of their last 22.
It's a far cry from the last-place club Broxton left behind in Kansas City. With the Royals sitting at 42-60 on the season, Broxton's move to Cincinnati basically switched the win-loss column and put him on a team with the best record in baseball.
"Going from last to first, it's a big jump, especially overnight picking up 20 games," Broxton said. "I'm just going out there and try to help this ball club win games. That's all I'm trying to do."
Broxton expressed his desire to fit in to the club without throwing off the team chemistry.
The six-foot-four, 300-pounder has already dubbed the fitting nickname "Big Broxton," but got to show off his surprisingly nimble feet twice Wednesday, scampering to field two short ground balls and make the out at first.
"A lot of people tell me I'm heavy on the scale, but light on my feet," Broxton said with a laugh.
Mark Clements is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.