MINNEAPOLIS — There might be a certain poetic justice, if all turns out well, in Royals closer Jonathan Broxton having to work through the Final Vote competition to gain a spot on the American League All-Star team.
By BOB DUTTON
The Kansas City Star
After all, Broxton hasn’t often done things the easy way this season while securing 20 saves in 23 opportunities. Only five of his saves have come through a one-two-three inning.
“Some of them are interesting,” he admitted. “Some of them aren’t. As a closer, or just a reliever, you’ve got to go out there and stay calm and just take it one out at a time. Don’t worry who is on the bases. Just make your pitches.
“You do that, the majority of the time, you’re going to come out OK.”
The others are:
• Texas right-hander Yu Darvish, who is 10-4 with a 3.57 ERA in 15 starts.
• Los Angeles right-hander Ernesto Frieri, who is 1-0 with an 0.77 ERA in 34 games with 10 saves. That includes a 0.00 ERA in 231/3 innings over 23 appearances since joining the Angels from San Diego.
• Baltimore right-hander Jason Hammel, who 8-3 with a 3.29 ERA in 15 starts.
• Chicago right-hander Jake Peavy, who is 6-5 with a 2.96 ERA in 14 starts.
Winning a spot over Darvish, who is likely to draw overwhelming support from Japan, is a daunting prospect for the four remaining candidates.
“Now, it’s in the hands of the fans,” Broxton said. “I’m not going to go around and beat on every door – especially in Toronto. If I don’t make it, hopefully I’ll just work harder for next year.”
The five National League candidates are Atlanta outfielder Michael Bourn, St. Louis third baseman David Freese, Washington outfielder Bryce Harper, Arizona second baseman Aaron Hill and Atlanta third baseman Chipper Jones.
Broxton, 28, was a National League All-Star in 2009 and 2010 while playing for the Los Angeles Dodgers. He signed a one-year deal with the Royals last November after becoming a free agent.
The Royals had planned for Broxton, who underwent elbow surgery last September, to serve as the primary setup reliever for Joakim Soria, an All-Star in 2008 and 2010. That changed when Soria suffered a torn elbow ligament in March.
Broxton stepped in as closer and … let’s just say it’s been a wild ride — albeit remarkably successful. He had a 2.05 record through 30 appearances, prior to Sunday’s series finale against the Twins, along with his 20-for-23 conversion success.
“You just put him in,” manager Ned Yost said, “and whatever is going to happen is going to happen. You can’t really control it from that point on.
“He’s getting the job done. It’s stupid to even think about (using someone else). Why? Because you’re scared? You’re going to pull him because you’re scared? Come on! He gets it done.”
The Final Vote is in its 10th year. Royals left fielder Alex Gordon was a candidate last year and finished third in the balloting.
To reach Bob Dutton, call 816-234-4352 or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him at Twitter.com/Royals_Report.