Reds get closer Broxton from Royals

Unable to upgrade their everyday lineup, the Cincinnati Reds

instead strengthened the back end of their bullpen on Tuesday by

acquiring closer Jonathan Broxton from Kansas City for a pair of

minor league pitchers.

Manager Dusty Baker plans to use Broxton as a set-up man for

closer Aroldis Chapman, who has dominated while finishing games.

Baker said Broxton could be used in save situations when Chapman

has pitched several days in a row.

The Reds surged into the NL Central lead by winning 10 in a row

before their 11-5 loss to San Diego on Monday night. They’ve pulled

it off without first baseman Joey Votto, their top hitter. Votto is

expected back in a few weeks.

”We had several deals for position players we looked at, and in

the end, we just felt we liked what we had and the deals didn’t

make sense for us,” general manager Walt Jocketty said. ”So we

decided to focus on pitching.

”We said, at the beginning, we were going to try to look for a

leadoff hitter, cleanup hitter, bench help or strengthen our

pitching, and the position player deals just weren’t right for us.

We felt good about adding an arm like Broxton. We’re still going to

look at things in August, deals that can be made.”

Broxton expected a trade, but was surprised to wind up with

Cincinnati.

”I kind of seen it coming, but I didn’t see Cincinnati,” he

said in Kansas City, where the Royals were getting ready to play

Cleveland. ”But they were real aggressive late is what (GM Dayton

Moore) said – that everything that was going on was Texas, Texas,

Texas. Cincinnati jumped right in the last second and got me.”

The Reds gave up 24-year-old left-hander Donnie Joseph and

23-year-old right-hander Juan Carlos Sulbaran. Joseph was 4-1 with

a 2.86 ERA and five saves at Triple-A. Sulbaran was 7-7 in 19

starts with a 4.04 ERA in Double-A.

Broxton goes from a team last in the AL Central at 41-60 to one

with the second-best record in the majors at 61-41. Cincinnati led

Pittsburgh by three games at the time of the trade.

”I’m going somewhere where I’m picking up 20-25 games (in

standings),” Broxton said. ”I enjoyed my time here, but this is

part of baseball, so go over there and hopefully we can win a

division over there.”

Reds players sat in front of the bank of big-screen television

sets in the clubhouse Tuesday watching news of the various trades,

hoping they wouldn’t be involved in one of them.

”Especially with our team, I think everybody definitely wants

to stay here,” left-handed reliever Bill Bray said, acknowledging

he was a little nervous about his chances of being included in a

deal.

The back of the bullpen has been the biggest challenge for

Baker. Closer Ryan Madson tore a ligament in his elbow during

spring training and had reconstructive surgery, leaving the Reds

without a proven closer. Then, they lost their two top set-up

relievers.

Bray was limited during spring training by a groin injury that

landed him on the disabled list for nearly two months. He went back

on the 15-day DL on Tuesday with a sore back. The Reds called up

right-hander Todd Redmond from Triple-A Louisville to replace

Bray.

Right-handed set-up man Nick Masset has been on the disabled

list all season with a sore pitching shoulder. He’s not close to

returning.

Baker eventually moved the hard-throwing Chapman into the

closer’s role, and he has responded by converting 21 of 25 save

chances, including his last 13 in a row. Broxton gives them another

option for the eighth inning.

”It gives us another power arm in the bullpen,” Baker said.

”You can always use more pitching. You never know what’s going to

happen.”

Broxton missed most of the 2011 season with the Dodgers because

of a bone spur in his elbow that required surgery. He agreed to a

$4 million, one-year deal before this season with Kansas City,

giving the Royals a steady setup man for closer Joakim Soria. He

moved into the closer’s role when Soria needed reconstructive elbow

surgery in March and has saved 23 games in 27 chances.

The Reds expect Broxton to arrive before a game against San

Diego on Wednesday.

Royals manager Ned Yost plans to let Greg Holland close games in

Broxton’s place.

”He’s been very solid down there,” Yost said. ”We’ll give him

an opportunity to close games out. He was pretty obvious for me

right now. He’s been pretty consistent and we feel his stuff is all

the way back to where it was last year, when he was really

successful.”

AP freelance writer Alan Eskew in Kansas City contributed to

this report.

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