Jonathan Broxton melts down, blows game in 12th

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Jonathan Broxton struck out the side Sunday to earn his first save for the Royals. His outing Wednesday didn’t go so well.

After Oakland’s Seth Smith reached on an Alcides Escobar error in the 12th, Broxton walked two batters and hit two more to take a blown save and a loss in a 5-4 game.

Broxton retired the first batter he faced prior to Escobar’s miscue. After the two walks, the tying run scored on a groundout and Broxton was in position to still send the game to the 13th. Only then he plunked Yoenis Cespedes and Jonny Gomes with back-to-back pitches, ending the contest.

Broxton, who was signed to set up for Joakim Soria, has looked pretty shaky since the beginning of the spring and doesn’t seem long for the closer’s role in Kansas City. Greg Holland is probably next in line, and Aaron Crow, who started games this spring before being shifted back to the pen, could also be an option. Crow actually got a save Tuesday for pitching a scoreless seventh inning in a 3-0 game called in the top of the eighth.

J.D. Martinez tells teams he prefers an outfield role

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Free agent outfielder/slugger J.D. Martinez is reportedly seeking an outfield gig, says Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald. According to Silverman’s sources, Martinez’s suitors have been informed that the veteran slugger would give preference to teams that can offer a corner outfield spot, rather than a DH-only role.

That could spell trouble for the Red Sox, who appear to be Martinez’s biggest suitors so far this offseason. Outfielders Mookie Betts and Andrew Benintendi are firmly established at the corners, and prior reports from club president Dave Dombrowski suggest that center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. is not going anywhere anytime soon (thereby eliminating the possibility of reshuffling the outfield). The DH spot is still wide open for Martinez, who doesn’t seem to be totally closed off to the idea, but any full-time or part-time role on the field is likely off the table at this point.

Of course, the Red Sox aren’t the only ones pursuing Martinez’s services this winter. The 30-year-old slugger has been linked to both the Diamondbacks and Giants in weeks past, and while they have the roster flexibility to accommodate his preferences, they’ll need to clear another massive hurdle: the seven-year, $250 million contract he’s said to be seeking. Both clubs will need to get creative to make such a deal work. The Diamondbacks are rumored to be shopping right-hander Zack Greinke in an attempt to free up some room on their payroll for Martinez, while the Giants appear more inclined to scour the trade market for outfield help than shell out cash for another hefty contract in free agency.