DENVER - Keon Broxton already looks comfortable with the Orioles, smiling freely and spending part of today’s pregame clubhouse time chatting with former high school teammate Josh Lucas at his locker.
The new guy described his reaction to Wednesday’s trade as “pure joy.” He doesn’t care about the standings. He just wants a chance to play and have fun.
“I was excited just getting an opportunity to come out here and do what I love to do,” he said. “I’m just ready to go. I can’t wait for tonight, for the game to start. Get back out there on the field and run around a little bit.”
Broxton will be patrolling center field at Coors Field, with Stevie Wilkerson moving to right. He could use a fresh start, or any start, after receiving 53 plate appearances with the Mets and going 7-for-49 with 22 strikeouts.
“They want to give me extended at-bats, extended playing time, which is awesome,” he said. “I think that’s going to do me wonders.”
Broxton is known for his defense and athleticism before his bat, which has produced a career .216/.306/.404 slash line in parts of five seasons, but his power surfaced in 2017 with 20 home runs in 143 games with the Brewers. He hit only four the following season in 89 plate appearances.
The goal is to get back to his earlier form, including the .354 on-base percentage in 244 plate appearances in 2016. He believes it’s possible.
“Oh, yeah, 100 percent. I definitely think so,” he said.
“I think once I get into the swing of things, get into the flow of the game, I think it’s all going to come back and everything’s going to be perfect.”
Asked what the last two seasons have been like, Broxton said, “They’ve been, I don’t know how to describe it. It’s just kind of inconsistent, I guess. That’s the best way to put it.
“Been up and down, not playing too much. But in the big leagues it doesn’t really matter what you’re doing, it’s always a lot of fun, so I can’t take anything away from those two years.”
The scouting report on the club provided by Lucas increased his level of excitement.
“He said it’s a good group of guys, everyone’s pretty laid back and like to have a lot of fun while we’re out here. And there’s really nothing that’s holding us back from being a good team,” Broxton said.
“He said, ‘You’re going to fit right in with these guys,’ and so far I have. I think everyone here is very nice and very open and I feel like it’s going to be a lot of fun.
“I just wanted to go somewhere where there was a good opportunity and a good vibe and this place looks like it’s right for me.”
The Orioles wanted a natural center fielder, a plus defender, and were interested as soon as the Mets designated Broxton. They surrendered international signing bonus slots to get him.
Broxton, who’s wearing No. 9, said he can offer “a lot of different things.”
“Defense, steals, create some runs and just play good defense,” he said.
For the Rockies
Raimel Tapia LF
Trevor Story SS
Nolan Arenado 3B
Daniel Murphy 1B
Ian Desmond CF
David Dahl RF
Brendan Rodgers 2B
Tony Wolters C
Jeff Hoffman RHP