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Jonathan Broxton has a merry month

After a slow start to the season, closer has 12 saves in May. He's trying to cut down on his pitch count.

June 01, 2010|By Dylan Hernandez

This has been a season of extremes for closer Jonathan Broxton, who went from spending most of April caged in the bullpen to saving more games in one month than any pitcher in Dodgers history in May.

Broxton, who saved only one game in the first month of the season, saved 12 in the second. He completed his record-setting month by earning his third victory of the season Monday night.

Broxton went into the game Tuesday having saved 12 of the Dodgers' last 23 games and had an earned-run average of 1.16. His 13 saves ranked fourth in the National League.

While continuing to strike out batters at a high rate — he had 35 strikeouts in 23 1/3 innings through Monday — Broxton said he was working on pitching more to contact to decrease his pitch count. By limiting the number of pitches he throws, Broxton said he believes he will be stronger in latter stages of the 162-game season.

"Say you were throwing 17, 18 pitches an inning," Broxton said. "If you start throwing 15 an inning, over the course of the year that's going to save you. They're going to add up. If you go out there 20 times a month and you throw two fewer pitches each time, that's 40 pitches you save."

The numbers indicate that Broxton has indeed been more efficient. He entered Tuesday averaging 15.2 pitches an inning, down from 16.5 at this stage last season.

Former phenom returns to Dodger Stadium

Edwin Jackson couldn't make up his mind.

Asked if it felt like a lifetime ago that he last pitched at Dodger Stadium, Jackson replied, "Yeah." But after a brief paused, he reversed course, "No."

The Diamondbacks' starter in their series finale Wednesday, Jackson made his major league debut for the Dodgers on his 20th birthday on Sept. 9, 2003. He beat Randy Johnson and the Diamondbacks that day, but never lived up to his billing as a "can't-miss prospect" and was traded to Tampa Bay prior to the 2006 season.

Jackson hasn't pitched at Dodger Stadium since.

"It seems like a long time ago, but sometimes it seems like it was just yesterday," he said.

Jackson, who won 14 games for Tampa Bay in 2008 and made his first All-Star team with Detroit last season, said he doesn't have any regrets about his time in Los Angeles.

"I don't know whether I was rushed or not, but I look at everything as it happened for a reason," he said. "I learned a lot in L.A. I went through a lot of adversity and it was probably needed for me to be where I am right now. If you learn how to fail, you'll know how to win."

Short hops

Embattled setup man George Sherrill started his minor league rehabilitation assignment with Class-A Inland Empire and was charged with a run and three hits, including a double. Sherrill is tentatively scheduled to pitch for Inland Empire again on Thursday and could head to triple-A Albuquerque over the weekend… Manager Joe Torre said he planned to rest Manny Ramirez on Wednesday because of the noon start time.

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