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.
The Mets have begun working outfielder Jay Bruce and second baseman Neil Walker at first base as potential insurance in the event Lucas Duda continues to experience back discomfort, Mike Puma of the New York Post reports. Duda has been sidelined recently due to back spasms and missed all but 47 games last season as a result of a stress fracture in his lower back.
Manager Terry Collins spoke about Bruce’s work at first base on Sunday, saying, “I liked everything I saw today. “It looks like he’s got the athleticism, he’s got the hands, he’s got the arm angle. He made some throws in our drills that you wouldn’t expect an outfielder to be able to make, but yet he does. If that’s where we have to go, I think we’ll be fine.”
Bruce has only three games’ worth of experience at first base at the major league level, but still has high expectations for himself. He said, “I am going to work at it. I want to give myself a chance and the team a chance. I am not going to go over there and be a butcher. It’s just not the way I go about my business on the baseball field and it wouldn’t be fair to the team if I wasn’t capable to do it, so I am going to work at it and we’ll see what happens.”
The Mets made Bruce available via trade over the offseason but didn’t get an offer that whet their appetite. As a result, Michael Conforto appears to be the odd man out in the Mets’ crowded outfield.
Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis has been diagnosed with a strained rotator cuff in his right shoulder, MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian reports. Kipnis has received a cortisone shot and will be shut down from throwing for the next four to five days.
There’s a lot of spring left, so it’s perfectly sensible for the Indians to play it safe with their star player. The club already had Kipnis on a shoulder strengthening program.
Kipnis, 29, helped the Indians to the playoffs after batting .275/.343/.469 with 23 home runs, 92 RBI, 91 runs scored, and 15 stolen bases in 688 plate appearances during the regular season last year. He then helped the Indians reach Game 7 of the World Series against the Cubs, where they were eventually stopped, as he provided a .741 OPS including four homers and eight RBI in 15 playoff games.