Jonathan Broxton goes on DL
NEW YORK -- The Los Angeles Dodgers placed closer Jonathan Broxton on the 15-day disabled list Friday, two days after he underwent an MRI exam in Los Angeles to determine the cause of discomfort in his right elbow that he didn't reveal to the team's medical or coaching staff until earlier that day.
The injury is expected to keep him out for at least a month because he won't throw for two to three weeks.
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Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said Vicente Padilla will take over primary closing duties during the time Broxton is out. The club replaced Broxton on the roster by recalling reliever Kenley Jansen from Double-A Chattanooga just five days after Jansen was optioned to clear a spot for reliever Hong-Chih Kuo to come off the DL.
Broxton said that an MRI showed nothing more serious than a bone bruise in the back of his right elbow as well as a bone spur he said he already knew about that had been there for a long time and was a nonissue.
Broxton met with team physician Dr. Neal ElAttrache on Thursday night after ElAttrache reviewed the MRI results.
"They said I wouldn't do any more damage if I continue to throw if they give me three or four days and then I don't pitch on back-to-back days after I come back,'' Broxton said before Friday night's game against the New York Mets at Citi Field. "But they also said it's something I'll have to battle all year, so we're just going to take a little time and get the fluid out of the bruise.''
Broxton said he won't throw at all for two to three weeks. He wasn't sure how long it might take him to return to the active roster or whether he will need a minor league rehabilitation assignment before he does, although that much seems obvious, and Mattingly indicated that it was a safe assumption.
"Basically, he is totally shut down with [throwing],'' Mattingly said. "After that, we'll have to get him built back up.''
Broxton said ElAttache told him this injury is common among power pitchers because the strain of throwing so hard can cause the joint to open up with each pitch, allowing the bones to snap back on each other. As this happens repeatedly over time, fluid builds up in the opening within the joint, causing the pain and the bruise.
Broxton has battled inconsistency and ineffectiveness since the middle of last season, but he wouldn't blame that on the elbow issue.
"I don't think it happened last year,'' he said. "It could have happened in spring [training] and just caught up to me. That is why you saw the drop in my velocity. If I had two or three days off, I was good. But the day after that, it would flare up.''
Broxton wouldn't say he will be more forthcoming with the medical staff in the future with any discomfort he is feeling.
"No, I'll just go pitch,'' he said. "Like the doctor said, I could still pitch now. It's not going to hurt me, but he didn't want me to change my mechanics trying to protect it not knowing I was trying to protect it. You're always going to feel something in baseball.''
Broxton has converted seven of eight save opportunities, but he does have a 5.68 ERA with nine walks and 10 strikeouts.
Tony Jackson covers the Dodgers for ESPNLosAngeles.com. Follow him on Twitter.