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First place A’s come to Seattle after benching closer

First place A’s come to Seattle after benching closer

Oakland Athletics pitcher Jim Johnson (45) is relieved by manager Bob Melvin, rear, during the ninth inning of a baseball game against the Cleveland Indians in Oakland, Calif., Wednesday, April 2, 2014. The Indians won 6-4. Johnson was the losing pitcher. In front is Athletics catcher Derek Norris. Photo: Associated Press/AP Photo/Jeff Chiu

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Manager Bob Melvin says the Oakland Athletics will move forward with a closer-by-committee approach while they work to get the struggling Jim Johnson back on track.

Melvin made the announcement to A’s beat writers on Thursday before his team wrapped up a three-game series against the Minnesota Twins. Johnson is 0-2 with an 18.90 ERA in five appearances this season. He blew a save on Wednesday against the Twins, and Melvin says Johnson needs some time away from the role to get straightened out.

The A’s acquired Johnson in a trade from Baltimore after losing All-Star closer Grant Balfour to Tampa Bay. Johnson led the AL with 50 saves last season.

Oakland will use Dan Otero, Ryan Cook, Luke Gregorson and Sean Doolittle in save situations, depending on the matchup.

The A’s have won four straight and are in first place in the AL West with a 6-and-3 record. Friday’s game is scheduled for a 7:10pm first pitch. coverage on KPUG 1170AM begins at 6:00pm.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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