Broxton trying to find comfort zone in setup role

Broxton trying to find comfort zone in setup role

Broxton trying to find comfort zone in setup role
CHICAGO -- Jonathan Broxton's transition to Reds reliever since being acquired at the July 31 Trade Deadline has been easier in the clubhouse than on the mound so far.

Broxton has allowed two earned runs in each of his last two outings, each of which lasted just two-thirds of an inning. He's also gone 1-1 with a 9.00 ERA in five appearances since coming over from the Royals, with opponents hitting .353 off him. Broxton was the Kansas City closer, saving 23 games in 27 opportunities, but the Reds are using him as setup man for fireballing closer Aroldis Chapman.

Manager Dusty Baker had to call on Chapman for a third straight day in Sunday's 3-0 win over the Cubs, as Broxton wasn't available.

"We didn't really want to go to Chapman today, third day in a row, since we have an off-day [Monday], but he said he was feeling great and we didn't have Big Broxton today. He was a little sore," Baker said.

Broxton, for his part, chose to dwell on his greater mound struggles when asked about how his arm felt before the game.

"I was having a good year at the start [in Kansas City], and I get over here and just made some key bad pitches that cost us some runs," the 6-foot-4, 300-pound Broxton said. "In the two outings I did have a bad one, we didn't win one and the other one we won. It's always special when you have Chapman coming in behind you. He can get you out of a lot of stuff."

Broxton added that he hasn't felt any added pressure being the Reds' big Deadline acquisition.

"We've got a good team over here," he said. "The locker room's great. Everybody in here's welcomed me with open arms and I'm just trying to help out at much as I can. I'm trying to help us win a pennant and move on from there."

As for his once-dominant fastball, which helped Broxton record 84 saves over parts of six seasons with the Dodgers, the hard-throwing right-hander is now taking a somewhat different approach to getting outs. Broxton used to approach triple digits on the radar gun, like Chapman, but he said that arthroscopic elbow surgery last September to remove a bone spur and loose cartilage took a few miles per hour off his heater.

"I can't complain," Broxton said. "I'm just going out there and trying to get quick outs. That's my main focus right now. I've got a couple years in [at this level] and had a year where I had over 100 strikeouts out of the bullpen. I'm just trying to get outs as fast as I can right now, so I can save all the bullets I can."