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LOS ANGELES -- Although it had become increasingly clear in recent weeks, it became official on Monday that erstwhile Los Angeles Dodgers closer Jonathan Broxton won't return this season, a fact that could mean he has pitched his last game for the team that originally drafted him in the second round nine years ago.
Both Dodgers manager Don Mattingly and medical-services director Stan Conte said Broxton doesn't have time to get himself game-ready before the season ends on Sept. 28.
Broxton threw off a mound on Monday for the first time since being placed on the 15-day disabled list on May 6 with what was termed a bone bruise in his right elbow. But it took him so long to get to that point that there simply isn't enough season left for him to complete the prescribed program that would have gotten him ready to pitch in the majors.
"It's a matter of the calendar," Conte said. "Our objective now is to make sure that at the end of the season, he can do his normal throwing program in the offseason and get ready for spring training."
However, there is a strong likelihood that Broxton will go to spring training with another club. He is eligible for free agency after the season, when he comes to the end of a two-year, $11 million contract. But inconsistency caused him to lose the closer's role late last season, and he appeared to have lost it again before going onto the DL this year, although Mattingly never really said that for certain.
Broxton was an All-Star closer as recently as last year, recording the save in a National League victory in Anaheim, before struggling so badly over the following month that he lost the job. Mattingly, who took over as manager this season, officially gave Broxton the job back on the day after the season ended, but Broxton posted a 5.68 ERA. His misery culminated in a blown save on April 25 at Florida, and two days later, he curiously was standing in the bullpen with his arms folded as Vicente Padilla closed out a 5-4 victory over the Marlins.
Mattingly insisted after that game that Broxton still was the team's closer, and indeed, Broxton did record two saves over the following week before going onto the DL.
Broxton declined an interview request as he left the field following his bullpen session.Tony Jackson covers the Dodgers for ESPNLosAngeles.com.