Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon

news

MLB News

Melvin to look at matchups in choosing closer

MLB.com

SEATTLE -- A day after he took Jim Johnson out of the closer's role, A's manager Bob Melvin expanded on his decision to rely on a committee in the ninth inning, essentially saying matchups would dictate who closes.

That means lefty Sean Doolittle and right-hander Luke Gregerson are likely to be called on for these duties the most, with Doolittle getting the nod if there are several left-handers on the way and Gregerson handling the right-handers.

Full Game Coverage

SEATTLE -- A day after he took Jim Johnson out of the closer's role, A's manager Bob Melvin expanded on his decision to rely on a committee in the ninth inning, essentially saying matchups would dictate who closes.

That means lefty Sean Doolittle and right-hander Luke Gregerson are likely to be called on for these duties the most, with Doolittle getting the nod if there are several left-handers on the way and Gregerson handling the right-handers.

Full Game Coverage

Ryan Cook is typically lumped in this group, but he is still easing into things after missing the first week of the season while continuing rehab on a sore shoulder.

Doolittle and Gregerson are often thought to be more valuable in high-leverage situations in innings before the ninth. That is why Melvin will not always be saving them for the end.

"If we got into a situation where I wanted to use Doolittle and Gregerson before the ninth came, [Dan] Otero could step into that," he said before Friday night's game. "Those guys are used to coming in with traffic on the bases and getting some key outs earlier than the ninth inning. The ninth inning is the one you know is going to be a clean inning for you. The other times, once you get out there, you gotta be on it right away."

Johnson lost his ninth-inning role less than two weeks into the job with his new team, after he went 0-2 with a blown save and an 18.90 ERA in his first five appearances, but he is expected regain it at some point.

"I could definitely see that," Melvin said.

In the meantime, Melvin plugged Johnson into the seventh inning Friday with his club down by six runs in Seattle, and the right-hander responded by pitching two perfect innings with four strikeouts in the eventual 6-4 loss.

"That's the best we've seen him this year, no question about it," Melvin said. "A couple innings allows you to get in the flow and work on some things, and that was really good stuff.

"We're not switching anything up right now, but it's a good start for him to get back to pitching in the fashion he expects. That was by far the best stuff we've seen from him. "

Jane Lee is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Major Lee-ague, and follow her on Twitter @JaneMLB.

 

Oakland Athletics