Reds deem Jonathan Broxton ready to pitch … and close?

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Reds manager Bryan Price has already said that Jonathan Broxton would take over as Aroldis Chapman’s closer fill-in once healthy, so now that he’s off the disabled list it’ll be interesting to see if the big right-hander immediately jumps into ninth-inning duties.

Broxton has been sidelined since undergoing elbow surgery in August, but threw back-to-back scoreless innings on a minor-league rehab assignment at Double-A on Friday and Saturday to convince the Reds he’s ready.

Broxton has plenty of closing experience, including 27 saves as recently as 2012, but he was mediocre for the Reds before being shut down last season. He’ll try to hold the gig until Chapman is ready to return from facial fractures, which could happen as soon as late May.

Kendrys Morales pitched a scoreless inning Sunday

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Nothing went right for the Blue Jays this weekend. The club was swept in a four-game series against the Athletics, including a 9-2 loss on Sunday. Not wanting to burn out his bullpen in a lopsided game — and perhaps thinking about the general entertainment value involved — Blue Jays manager John Gibbons decided to send designated hitter Kendrys Morales out to pitch the ninth inning. And in typical baseball fashion, he saw better results than some of the dudes who do this all the time.

Morales, who actually pitched in Cuba nearly 20 years ago, worked around a walk for a scoreless inning. He induced three fly outs and topped out at 87.4 mph on his fastball, per Brooks Baseball. He received a standing ovation on the way back to the dugout. Morales hasn’t been hearing that sort of thing for his contributions with the bat recently.

Morales, 34, is batting just .163/.248/.279 with three home runs through 32 games this season. There’s been some understandable clamoring for top prospect Vladmir Guerrero, Jr. to cut into his at-bats. For his part, Morales has been doing everything he can to break out of his slumber at the plate, including ditching the glasses he started wearing during spring training. Hey, whatever works. Morales also had two of Toronto’s four hits on Sunday.

On the heels of Morales’ first MLB appearance on the mound, it feels rather appropriate that the Blue Jays will get their first look at Angels sensation Shohei Ohtani — at least as a hitter — beginning on Tuesday.