Dodgers strip Jonathan Broxton of closer's role

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Believing his hulking right-hander has lost his confidence, manager Joe Torre today removed Jonathan Broxton for the closer’s role and replaced him with left-hander Hong-Chih Kuo.
He added that Octavio Dotel would be used if a save chance materializes Friday, only because Kuo has pitched on back-to-back days.
Broxton gave up four runs in taking a blown save and a loss Thursday against the Phillies. He’s blown three saves since the All-Star break, taking losses in each of those games. He also suffered a fourth loss after entering a tie game. He has a 10.13 ERA and a 5/11 K/BB ratio in eight innings since saving the All-Star Game for the NL. He finished the first half with a 2.11 ERA and a 55/7 K/BB ratio in 38 1/3 innings.
The switch may seem like a bit of a panic move, but if it means that Broxton starts getting regular work again, it would definitely be for the best. With the Dodgers slumping, he’s made just eight appearances in the month since the All-Star Game. Including his All-Star appearance on July 13, he’s made his last nine appearances on the following days rest:
3, 4, 1, 3, 2, 3, 2, 3, 4
Compare that to the much more fragile Kuo. He’s made 12 appearances since July 17, coming on the following days rest:
2, 1, 1, 2, 1, 1, 2, 3, 0, 2, 0
Kuo isn’t being used as a specialist, either: he’s pitched 12 2/3 innings in those dozen appearances.
So, this just might work out. Broxton can pitch every other day or more frequently until he runs off a few strong outings, and Kuo might get a bit of a break while being reserved for the ninth. That’s probably not the reasoning behind it, but it could help the Dodgers in the long run.

Braves ink Blaine Boyer to a minor league deal

DENVER, CO - OCTOBER 2:  Relief pitcher Blaine Boyer #48 of the Milwaukee Brewers delivers to home plate during the seventh inning against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field on October 2, 2016 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)
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The Braves have signed reliever Blaine Boyer to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training, MLB.com’s Mark Bowman reports. Bowman adds that the right-hander has a “good chance” to make the Braves’ bullpen out of spring training.

Boyer, 35, spent the past season with the Brewers, finishing with a 3.95 ERA and a 26/17 K/BB ratio in 66 innings.

Boyer, of course, started his professional baseball career with the Braves as they selected him in the third round of the 2000 draft. Since the Braves traded him in 2009, Boyer has pitched for the Cardinals, Diamondbacks, Mets, Padres, and Twins along with the Brewers.

Report: Rays nearing a deal with Shawn Tolleson

ST. LOUIS, MO - JUNE 18: Reliever Shawn Tolleson #37 of the Texas Rangers pitches against the St. Louis Cardinals in the eighth inning at Busch Stadium on June 18, 2016 in St. Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
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Update (6:48 PM EST): Topkin reports the contract will be of the major league variety.

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Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports that the Rays and free agent reliever Shawn Tolleson are close to finalizing a contract.

Tolleson, who turns 29 years old on Thursday, had an ugly 2016 season, finishing with a 7.68 ERA and a 29/10 K/BB ratio in 36 1/3 innings. He was one of the Rangers’ best relievers in the two seasons prior to that, however, which included saving 35 games in 2015.