Down on the Farm Report

There has always existed a notion that if Jonathan Broxton overcame some arm problems and was in pitching shape he could rank in the top echelon of Dodger mound prospects. Well, he's healthy and, in the early going, making that forecast seem accurate.

Broxton had suffered through some arm problems that limited him to 37 innings at South Georgia in 2003. In addition, there was the tendency of packing some pounds on his 6-4 frame, so much so that he resembled the Pillsbury Doughboy. But, he rehabbed the arm, then lost 30 pounds as a result of a rigorous off-season training regimen. Thursday night the results of those efforts were apparent as he overpowered the Palm Beach Cardinals for seven innings, holding them to just two singles while striking out 13 in a 1-0 victory.

The 19-year-old righthander, who was a second-round draft choice out of a Georgia high school in 2002, was followed by Jonathan Figueroa and Brian Steffek, each throwing a scoreless inning. Figueroa, another whose return to form could be important in future Dodger plans, fanned two of the three batters he faced while Steffek picked up his first save of the season.

It was the third win for Vero with Broxton having notched two of those. Alex Requena stretched his hitting streak to seven games by singling in Emilio Marcos with the game's only run in the third. D.Y. Young had two hits for Vero.

The Las Vegas' losing streak reached six games as Tacoma (Mariners) committed all sorts of indignities on starter Tom Farmer (0-1) in a 14-7 humiliation. Farmer was smacked by a line drive but was physically uninjured. However, his pride suffered as he couldn't make in out of the second inning, being whacked for seven hits and five runs before departing. Just -called-up Winston Abreau (two innings, four runs) and Rodney Myers (1.1 innings, five runs) fared no better.

Rick Bell had three hits while Jose Flores hit his first home run in the losing cause.

In the South Atlantic League, Columbus (3-4) had to go 10 innings before getting past Augusta (Red Sox) 8-7 in their first road game of the season. Home runs by Jereme Milons and Jared Price, the first for both, had given the Catfish a 7-4 lead but wildness by Jumbo Diaz allowed the Green Jackets to rally for three runs.

However, pinch-hitter Mike Nixon singled home Luis Jimenez in the top of the 10th and Ozzie Rodriguez, normally a starter, pitched a scoreless bottom of the inning for the save as Diaz (1-1) got the victory anyway despite his ineffectiveness.

Chin-lung Hu had a double and two singles for the Fish while Alvis Ojeda threw 3.1 innings of scoreless relief of starter Zach Hammes.

In player moves involving pitchers, Las Vegas released Matt Jarvis while Chuck Tiffany, the 2003 second-round draft choice, was moved up from the extended camp to Columbus.

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