Broadway Focuses On Progression

COLUMBUS, OH - Just one month ago, Larry Broadway was taking his cuts and fielding grounders with the Washington Nationals. Considered one of the frontrunners for the open spot at first base in spring training, Broadway could not find the answer to beat out Travis Lee or Dmitri Young. Sent down to Columbus before opening day, Broadway now finds himself struggling at the plate.

Larry Broadway enters his sixth season of professional baseball following a great stint in the minors. After spending three seasons at Duke University, Broadway was drafted by the Montreal Expos in the 3rd round of the 2002 draft. Broadway recalled the transition from college to professional ball by saying, "The biggest transition was getting into the grind and not letting one day get you down. It's not like football where you have to wait a week to get back out there. I found myself forced to get into a routine every day." 

The Florida native wasted no time in his young debut, hitting a homerun in his first pro game with Vermont. Broadway called to mind his emotions after that homerun, telling, "Ah this is going to be easy; however, it didn't work out that way. I was just a kid out there playing. The pitch came in and I took a hard cut." 

After a successful start to his pro career in the minor leagues, Broadway experienced his first setback in 2005. Just 18 games into the season, he sprained the PCL in his right knee causing him to miss 2 months with Triple-A New Orleans, former affiliate of the Washington Nationals. Although the injury slowed Broadway's movements, he was determined to get back into the lineup. "Working out was the biggest factor to getting back. The PCL doesn't take the beating of an ACL and is easier to repair. I had to get my quads and hamstrings stronger."

Last season had big implications, as Broadway batted .288, adding 15 home runs and driving in 78. Although he was ready for a strong finish, his body had other ideas. In the final weeks of the season, Broadway separated his shoulder causing a long and strenuous rehab during the off-season.

"It took me a little while to get the rust off," Broadway said. "That's why I kind of went to winter ball was really to test it out and get it into game shape. You can take as many swings off the tee or batting practice as you want to, but the only way to really get back into shape is by actual game situations and taking full hacks. I know my winter ball stats weren't great, but that's really why I went down there, to try to get my shoulder and legs back in shape. I used a lot of rehab and working out, doing everything I could to be ready for the season such as lifting, running, and getting my swings in." 

This year presents a new atmosphere for Broadway and a new team in Columbus. "Just like last year in New Orleans, Triple-A teams are almost new every year anyways, although there are a few guys back," declared Broadway. "I wouldn't say there are many leaders on this team. Tony Batista is obviously the veteran on the team and people listen to him. Although I wouldn't say we are all leaders, we have come together.  It's more of just a family team atmosphere, rather than needing that extra guy to put people in line and make sure things are done right." 

The Clippers are off to a slow start, caused primarily by the lack of hits and run production. The pitching staff, led by Felix Diaz and Joel Hanrahan, has had many good outings and has shown improvement, but unless the bats start coming alive, the Clippers could be in for a long season. Broadway, still hoping to play his way onto the Nationals this season, has not helped his cause at the plate. Broadway is currently batting just .100, going for 3-for-30 in his first 10 games. He hopes to stay focus mentally and break out of his slump.

"I pretty much have to erase it. This is opening day again and you cannot change what happened in the past. Everybody would have liked to start better on the team but it didn't happen. I am just continuing to work and get my swings and work on my approach in the box. You have to take it day by day, pitch by pitch, and try to win every pitch." 

Although Broadway is struggling at the plate, his teammates can rely on him at first base. Defensively, he has made a strong impact. Broadway, who takes great pride in his defense, said, "I work hard every day taking ground balls, taking picks and throwing the ball to second base. There is a not a big hole in my defense, and I think pitchers and infielders like having me over there."

Broadway hopes to tone his skills and get his call to the majors this season. He must be more efficient at the plate and produce better numbers to have a chance to play in a Nationals uniform.

"Consistency is the key to my play. Every day the manager needs to know what he is going to get out of you. Whether that is a .270 hitter or a .330 hitter, he has to know what he can get out of you," said Broadway, commenting on what it would take for him to be called up to the majors. Broadway looked to regain his confidence Tuesday night, going 2-for-3 with a home run and four runs batted in.

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