HOUSTON -- Jim Johnson is back in the mix for ninth inning work out of the A's bullpen, manager Bob Melvin said Thursday.
Johnson, who began the season as the closer, isn't the closer, the manager made it clear. But he joins lefty Sean Doolittle and right-hander Luke Gregerson in the core of pitchers to whom the A's will turn to close out games.
The A's came into the season with Johnson, owner of back-to-back 50-save seasons, at the head of a bullpen that was considered by many the best in the game.
As the first month has played out, however, the A's bullpen has blown six saves, one of those by Johnson. He also took losses in his both of his first two appearances out of the Oakland bullpen.
"Potentially he's in the mix,'' Melvin said. "We will continue to operate under what is the best matchup for us.''
Johnson has not allowed a run in his last five appearances covering a total of 6.2 innings, a surge that has lowered his ERA from 18.90 after his first five games to its current 6.30.