A's to go with closer-by-committee

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Oakland Athletics will move forward with a closer-by-committee approach while they work to get struggling right-hander Jim Johnson back on track, manager Bob Melvin said Thursday.

Melvin made the announcement Thursday before the defending AL West champions 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, and Melvin says Johnson needs some time away from the role to get things straightened out.

Despite its issues in the ninth inning, Oakland has won four games in a row and is off to a 6-3 start after Thursday's 6-1 rout of the Twins, capping a three-game sweep of Minnesota.

The A's acquired Johnson in a trade from Baltimore after losing All-Star closer Grant Balfour to Tampa Bay. Johnson, whose $10 million salary is second-highest among A's players, led the American League with 50 saves last season.

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

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