Jim Johnson may or may not be ready to take another crack at this being a major league relief pitcher thing, but the Tigers are ready to have him in their bullpen. Detroit reportedly will call up Johnson after the reliever’s brief stint in the minor leagues, which included a couple scoreless innings on Wednesday night.
The Tigers hope Johnson found his good stuff down there in triple-A Toledo, because the stuff he showed earlier in the season was of the stinkbomb variety. In 38 appearances with the A’s, Johnson posted a 7.14 ERA and became the target of severe fan derision in the form of boos, curses and obscene gestures.
The fans weren’t reacting to Johnson’s bad pitching as much as they were reacting to the combination of his bad pitching plus the fact that he was signed to a $10 million/one-year deal in the offseason. I guess they were expecting Johnson to be more like the guy who saved 50 games for the Orioles in back-to-back seasons.
The Tigers are hoping to get that 50-save-type guy as well, and boy do they need him. Joe Nathan has been in slow trainwreck mode all season, and the one big pitcher they brought in to fix the bullpen mess, Joakim Soria, has already gone down with an injury.
If Johnson can get his head right, he can still make a major contribution to the Tigers this year. I’m sure Johnson feels super-motivated to get out there and stick it to the A’s in a big way. We’ll see.