Jim Johnson Could Join Detroit Tigers Pen This Weekend


Jul 1, 2014; Detroit, MI, USA; Oakland Athletics relief pitcher Jim Johnson (45) makes a throw to first in the eighth inning against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The Detroit Tigers thought they had their bullpen issues resolved.

First they signed former Boston closer Joel Hanrahan in May with the intention of having him ready after the all-start break.  But Hanrahan’s rehab from Tommy John did not go as planned and he remains on the self.

Then a week prior to the deadline, Dave Dombrowksi traded for Joakim Soria who had a track record of success in Kansas City and Texas.  Soria struggled in a Detroit Tigers uniform early and just when he found his grove, landed on the DL with an oblique injury.

Now the Tigers will look to last years save leader Jim Johnson to stop the bullpen bleeding.  Seems like a no brainer except for the fact that Johnson has struggled this season after being traded to the Oakland A’s where he save just two games and posted a 7.14 ERA. Oakland released him on July 24th.

The Tigers then signed the former Orioles closer to a minor league deal hoping that he could regain his old form.

So can Jim Johnson still close in the majors?

It appears we could know the answer to that question this weekend.

Johnson recently told John Wagner of the Toledo Blade he may be ready to help the Tigers after one more outing with the Mudhens.

"“Maybe in a couple of days I’ll be able to help [the Tigers] out,” Johnson said Wednesday. “I feel I need at least one more game here. “I’d like to come into a ‘situation’ here to get a little adrenaline going. Other than that, I’m commanding the ball better and I’m comfortable in my delivery.”"

Brad Ausmus later confirmed that story when talking to Jason Beck of MLB.com prior to game on Thursday.

The conversation also prompted Beck to tweet the thought that Johnson would be with the Tigers soon.

Fans should be kepping an eye on the Mudhens box scores this weekend.  If Johnson has another good outing he could be setting up Joe Nathan before the weekend is out.