Jonathan Broxton is heading to free agency with his value at an all-time low and will be rehabbing minor elbow surgery for the next couple months.
His odds of re-signing with the Dodgers were probably slim already, but Don Mattingly made it very clear yesterday that he doesn’t want Broxton back for 2012, telling Tony Jackson of ESPN Los Angeles that he wouldn’t recommend re-signing the once dominant closer:
It’s hard to encourage anything at this point. We don’t know anything. Anybody who signs Brox at this point … they will look at his medical records and look at his past, and it’s a risk/reward thing. It’s not really the kind of season you want to be coming off of.
Mattingly is right, of course, but managers aren’t usually that candid about impending free agents who’re technically still on the team.
Broxton earned $4 million last season and $7 million this year, but he hasn’t been effective and healthy since early 2010 and his average fastball velocity has dipped from 97.8 miles per hour to 95.3 mph to 94.1 mph in the past three seasons.
Cleaning up the bone spurs in his elbow will hopefully help Broxton reclaim that lost velocity and get back on track as a dominant late-inning reliever, but he’ll likely have to settle for an incentive-laden one-year contract with a team other than the Dodgers.
Dodgers’ left fielder Andrew Toles crushed his first spring training home run on Saturday afternoon. With the bases loaded and a two-run deficit hanging over their heads in the fourth inning, Toles stepped up to the plate against Oakland right-hander Jesse Hahn and unloaded a grand slam on the second pitch he saw.
Third baseman Justin Turner was quick to follow up with a solo jack of his own, bringing the score to a comfortable 7-4 lead by the end of the fourth. Another three-run outburst in the fifth and an eighth-inning RBI single by Austin Barnes raised the final score to 11-6… which, coincidentally, was the same score the Reds used to defeat the Athletics’ second split-squad lineup on Saturday (albeit with a few more RBI walks than grand slams).
Toles, 24, is approaching his sophomore season with the Dodgers in 2017. He slashed .314/.365/.505 with three home runs and an .870 OPS in his first major league season in 2016 and is expected to platoon with the right-handed Franklin Gutierrez in left field this year.
David Price showed “strength improvements” in his elbow on Saturday, but Red Sox’ manager John Farrell still doesn’t think the left-hander will be ready to throw by the start of the season — or for a few weeks afterward. According to ESPN’s Scott Lauber, the 31-year-old might not be ready to debut until May at the earliest.
Price hasn’t thrown off of a mound this spring after experiencing soreness in his left elbow on March 1. Surgery doesn’t appear to be necessary, but the Red Sox are playing it extra safe with their No. 3 starter in hopes that rest and rehabilitation will return him to full health sometime during the 2017 season. For now, Price has been restricted to short games of catch until he’s cleared to resume a more rigorous throwing program. Via MLB.com’s Ian Browne:
[There were] strength improvements to the point of putting the ball back in his hand a little more consistently,” said manager John Farrell. “Today’s the first step for that. A short game of catch. That’s what he’s going through. Not off a mound but just to get the arm moving with a ball in flight, and he will continue in this phase for a period of time. There’s no set distance and volume yet to the throws.
The lefty is coming off of a lackluster 2016 season, during which he delivered a 3.99 ERA, 2.0 BB/9 and 8.9 SO/9 over 230 innings for the Red Sox.