Johnson out as closer
MINNEAPOLIS — Jim Johnson is out as the A’s closer.
Manager Bob Melvin said Thursday morning he’s “going to give Jim a break” from the ninth inning and go with a closer-by-committee approach. Right-handers Luke Gregerson, Ryan Cook and Dan Otero and lefty Sean Doolittle are all options.
“There’s no timetable,” Melvin said. “Let’s just get him straightened out. And we have plenty options. That’s the good thing about our team, our versatility. We’ll play it by ear based on how the game’s going, who’s available on that particular day.”
The news comes a day after Johnson gave up two runs in the ninth inning to allow the Twins to tie a game the A’s ultimately won in extras. An All-Star closer with 101 saves to his name in the previous two seasons, Johnson is already 0-2 with a blown save and has allowed at least two runs in three of his five appearances and seven runs overall — tied for most among all American League relievers — in just 3 1/3 innings.
The 30-year-old right-hander has offered up nine hits and issued six walks in that span for a 4.50 WHIP.
Johnson wasn’t surprised by Melvin’s decision and told MLB.com and the San Francisco Chronicle, “He has to do what he has to do. I just gotta keep working. Nothing else I can do.
“I’m trying to figure out what’s going on. The ball’s not going where I want it to go consistently. Try to get it sorted out, try to get locked in … I wish I had an answer.”
The A’s traded for Johnson from Baltimore in December to offset the loss of Grant Balfour and are paying him $10 million, before he becomes a free agent at season’s end.