The Dodgers have finally put a general timetable on Jonathan Broxton‘s anticipated recovery from a painful bone spur in his right elbow.
According to Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times, Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti told reporters Friday that he expects the right-hander to return to the big league bullpen in July.
Whether Colletti meant early July or late July is currently unknown, but it seems like the Dodgers are at least beginning to map out a rehab plan and that’s typically a sign of progress.
Broxton, who turns 27 on Thursday, registered an ugly 5.68 ERA and 1.90 WHIP across 14 appearances this season before landing on the disabled list during the first week of May. The Dodgers can only hope that the time off will help the former All-Star closer right the ship and again become a reliable stopper. He also struggled mightily in the second half of 2010.
From 2006-2009, Broxton had a 2.79 ERA, a 3.4 BB/9 and converted 55 saves. Since the end of the 2009 season, he has a 4.32 ERA, a 4.4 BB/9 and has converted only 29 saves in 37 chances.
On Monday, Baseball America reported that MLB is prepared to expand to Portland and Montreal. We talked about that at length yesterday. One of the most common responses to that piece has been “Portland? Really?”
There’s good reason for that response. Baseball-to-Portland has been talked about for years, but there has never been any real traction. Past initiatives have failed, significant public funding for a stadium seems to be a political impossibility and, heck, Portland wasn’t even interested in keeping its Triple-A team, turning its stadium into a much more successful soccer venue and not missing the Beavers all that much.
It would seem, however, that the reports are not mere speculation and there is a genuine baseball-to-Portland initiative afoot once again. From the Oregonian:
On Tuesday, former Trail Blazers broadcaster Mike Barrett confirmed to The Oregonian/OregonLive that he is part of the Portland group.
“I am officially involved with a campaign to bring Major League Baseball and a stadium development to Portland,” Barrett said. “There is also a formally organized, sophisticated and seasoned management group running this initiative. We will keep you fully apprised of any/all developments as this project progresses.”
One guy — a broadcaster no less — saying he’s part of a group is not exactly a major needle-mover, of course. But it does contrast with past Portland initiatives that have been well-publicized grassroots affairs. While those may have been more broad-based and while their public nature may have provided some refreshing transparency, the simple fact of professional sports ownership in the 21st century is that well-monied groups who play things close to the vest are more likely to make waves. We’re in an age when technocratic hedge fund-type guys make things happen in this arena, not in an age when flamboyant public personalities do.
None of which is to say that baseball in Portland is a lock or that expansion anywhere is a short term proposition. It’s just to note that, yeah, there is a bit more going on, it seems, than just pointing at a map and saying “yeah, a team would make sense here.”