Oakland Athletics reliever Jim Johnson appears poised to reclaim the closer's role he lost the first week of the season.
One of Oakland's weakest links this season has been finishing games. They opened the season with Johnson, acquired through trade with Baltimore this offseason and with an annual salary of $10 million.
But Johnson promptly started the season with two blown saves and an 18.90 ERA in his first three innings of the season.
The right-hander was quickly removed from the role by manager Bob Melvin.
Since then, the A's have employed a closer-by-committee, featuring primarily Sean Doolittle and Luke Gregerson. The strategy has had very mixed results. Oakland, which beat Texas 4-0 Monday, is 5-for-11 in save opportunities.
The Athletics' six blown saves are tied for the most in the majors.
Since his dubious start to the season, Johnson, who had 101 saves the last two years, including 50 a season ago, hasn't allowed an earned run in 7 2/3 innings.
"It's elevated the potential for him to close," said Melvin. "He's pitching really well."
The plan, though, for now remains the same, the manager said.
But $10 million a season is too much for a set-up guy.