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A's remove Jim Johnson from closing duties

By Matt Snyder | Baseball Writer

Jim Johnson is out as A's closer.
Jim Johnson is out as A's closer. (USATSI)

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After a nightmarish start to the 2014 season, Athletics reliever Jim Johnson has been removed from the role of closer.

"We're going to give Jim a break," manager Bob Melvin told reporters Thursday (Jane Lee).

Johnson has an 18.90 ERA, 4.50 WHIP in five outings thus far. He's allowed nine hits, seven earned runs and six walks while only recording 10 outs. He does have one save, but three of his outings were disasters and he allowed at least one baserunner in all five times he's taken the hill.

The A's will move forward with a closer-by-committee approach. Sean Doolittle, Luke Gregerson, Ryan Cook and Dan Otero are all options (per Lee). The move doesn't sound it's necessarily permanent, as Melvin is surely taking a wait-and-see approach when it comes to late-inning performance.

Aside from Johnson, the A's bullpen has a 1.09 ERA (three runs allowed in 24 2/3 innings while Johnson has allowed seven in 3 1/3 innings).

Johnson, 30, is a one-time All-Star and led the majors in saves in each of the past two seasons. He also blew nine saves last season and had two horrible stretches -- once blowing four of five chances and later blowing three straight.

The A's acquired Johnson -- who is making $10 million this season -- this past offseason in a trade that sent Jemile Weeks and David Freitas to the Orioles.

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