Los Angeles Angels: Jonathan Broxton

Broxton takes advantage of second chance

July, 24, 2012
Jonathan BroxtonDenny Medley/US PresswireRoyals reliever Jonathan Broxton did not want to talk about his deparature from the Dodgers, saying he has turned the page.

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Jonathan Broxton has always had a great poker face. Win or lose, hero or goat, the former Los Angeles Dodgers closer's face never gave much of anything away. He was as stoic and silent as he was strong.

Until, it seems, he actually plays poker.

Broxton wasn't just smiling as he played cards in the Kansas City Royals' clubhouse Tuesday afternoon before their game against the Los Angeles Angels, he was laughing. At what, it's hard to say. A big hand? A bluff? Or maybe just the place he has pitched himself back into with a solid season as the Royals closer?

The Dodgers cut ties with Broxton, 28, last winter after a frustrating season of arm trouble, but aside from a high 1.40 WHIP (he has given up 36 hits and 14 walks in his 35 innings], Broxton has been one of the more pleasant surprises in baseball this season.

Broxton, who signed a one-year deal with the Royals last winter, has converted 23 of 27 saves and posted a 2.27 ERA in 35 appearances this year.

He has pitched so well, he has even been the subject of trade rumors recently.

"People had their own opinions, but I knew I still had it in me," said Broxton, who closed out the Royals' 4-1 win over the Angels on Tuesday. "All I had to do was get another chance. Kansas City gave me a chance, they've been great to me. They basically took a shot in the dark."

Broxton got his chance because small-market teams like the Royals have to take chances on guys like him every once in a while. But he's right about the shot-in-the-dark thing.

After numerous setbacks recovering from a bone bruise in his right pitching elbow, Broxton had surgery in September to remove two bone spurs and three bone chips in the elbow. He didn't begin throwing again until early January. So when the Royals signed him in early December, it was sight unseen.

"We have to do some of that here," Royals pitching coach Dave Eiland said. "But with Jonathan Broxton and his track record, I don't think it was too big of a shot in the dark.

"It wasn't like it was a Tommy John thing where we were pushing it in 7-8 months. It was chips where we knew if we took our time with it he could come back."

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