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Sure enough, he’s hurt: Jonathan Broxton shut down with elbow pain

May 4, 2011, 1:40 PM EDT

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UPDATE: Just as we suspected, the Dodgers announced that Broxton has been shut down with elbow pain. Not that an elbow injury qualifies as good news, but at least it potentially explains his struggles beyond “Broxton just stinks now.”

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Jonathan Broxton‘s latest ugly outing last night has Jon Weisman of Dodger Thoughts wondering if the closer is pitching through an injury.

Broxton was used in a non-save situation, coming into a 1-1 game in the ninth inning, but followed an Aramis Ramirez pop out with back-to-back walks and was quickly yanked.

Weisman notes that Broxton’s fastball topped out at 93 miles per hour and averaged just 91 mph, which is well off from his usual overpowering velocity. Here’s more:

That’s just not the Broxton of 12 months ago, and I’m not convinced it’s even the Broxton of 12 weeks ago. People have been strangely fascinated with Broxton’s facial expressions and posture, but here’s a suggestion: Someone needs to look at his arm. Even if they’ve looked at it before, look at it again. …

Though I’ve always suspected Broxton’s been off physically since his serious struggles began in late June, this was possibly the first time I watched him and said to myself, “There’s a guy that’s headed straight for the disabled list.” Of course, what I observe from my seat far from the pitcher’s mound has no real relevance, but I just offer it as an impression.

It is, I will say, a little peculiar to me that it doesn’t occur to the people who are calling for Broxton’s head and questioning his mental makeup that Broxton is possibly pitching hurt, and maybe has been for some time. If he has been concealing an injury, I sure hope he comes clean.

Whenever a formerly dominant pitcher has a sudden, sustained drop in performance the initial reaction should definitely skew more toward “maybe he’s hurt” than “maybe he’s a bum now.” Yet as Weisman said above, for some reason that rarely happens.

Broxton was an elite, dominating reliever for four-and-a-half seasons, but he’s been a mess since a four-run appearance on June 27 of last year. He actually took a 0.83 ERA into that game, but since then Broxton has thrown 42 innings with a 7.02 ERA and 35/32 K/BB ratio.

  1. BC - May 4, 2011 at 11:04 AM

    He’s gotta be hurt or have a dead arm or something. Either that or he caught Steve Blass Disease.

  2. dlevalley - May 4, 2011 at 11:40 AM

    I wonder if the Dodger$ would like to get him checked out by a real doctor, but just can’t afford it. These are tough times for people forced to live month-to-month.

    • jpeetey - May 4, 2011 at 2:39 PM

      Real doctor? I’m sure it’s nothing Vladimir Shpunt’s V-Energy can’t fix.

      • dlevalley - May 4, 2011 at 3:01 PM

        Nice.

  3. SmackSaw - May 4, 2011 at 12:04 PM

    Some pitchers wake up one day and their washed up. Boxers do the same. Broxton looks like he’s another example. His fastball has never had much movement. A drop in velocity is fatal to a guy that depends on power.

    • BC - May 4, 2011 at 12:44 PM

      Could be. Happened to Mark Wohlers. (Sorry Craig)

  4. riverace19 - May 4, 2011 at 1:17 PM

    I don’t think he has to be injured for a decline. Watched him last night. After the pop out, he was aiming the ball, plain and simple. His pitches were ugly and it was only a matter of time before one of his misses travelled right over the plate.
    This has happened to LOTS of closers before. Eric Gagne comes to mind since we are talking Dodgers.
    Think it’s time for them to move on.

    • Joe - May 4, 2011 at 1:52 PM

      Ummm….Eric Gagne got injured. That’s why he declined.

  5. snowbirdgothic - May 4, 2011 at 1:43 PM

    Yet another piece of labrum-shaped wreckage left in the path of Hurricane Torre.

    • davebrownspiral - May 4, 2011 at 5:35 PM

      Broxton gets to be marooned on the island with Tanyon Sturtze, Paul Quantrill, Scott Proctor and Ramiro Mendoza

  6. iDroidX - May 4, 2011 at 4:17 PM

    So are the Dodgers going to cut costs by going to a veterinarian?

  7. kiwicricket - May 4, 2011 at 11:24 PM

    The photo is probably not helping either

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