Royals sticking with Jonathan Broxton as closer

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Ned Yost took his time announcing that Jonathan Broxton and not Greg Holland would replace the injured Joakim Soria as closer, but the Royals manager wasted no time making it clear that he’s sticking with Broxton in the ninth-inning role despite an ugly blown save Wednesday.

Broxton walked two batters, hit two more, and allowed two runs to turn a 4-3 lead into a 5-4 loss against the A’s, but Yost was quick to point out that the big right-hander’s raw stuff was still plenty impressive.

“He just lost command of his fastball,” Yost told Rustin Dodd of the Kansas City Star. “But he’s a two-time All-Star and he has really rebounded nicely from this arm surgery. He’s got his velocity back up to 97, 98, with an 86-, 87-mph slider, which is a killer, hard slider.”

Sure enough, Pitch-F/X data shows that Broxton has averaged 95.2 miles per hour with fastball and 87.8 mph with his slider, up from 94.0 mph and 86.4 mph last season before undergoing elbow surgery. It remains to be seen if Broxton can reestablish himself as a dominant reliever, but velocity wise he’s back.

Report: Rockies close to signing Bryan Shaw

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Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that the Rockies are close to an agreement with free agent reliever Bryan Shaw. According to ESPN’s Buster Olney, Shaw’s deal is for three years and will guarantee about $9 million per year.

Shaw, 30, has spent the last five seasons in the Indians’ bullpen. Over that span of time, mostly setting up for closer Cody Allen, Shaw put up an aggregate 3.11 ERA with a 333/119 K/BB ratio in 358 2/3 innings.

The Rockies have been in hot pursuit of bullpen help after losing Greg Holland and Pat Neshek to free agency. Shaw would certainly represent a significant improvement in the bullpen.