There is no question that Jim Johnson hasn’t gotten much love in his first three months with the A’s.
Except from his teammates. They know what it’s like to struggle. They’ve all been there, and there hasn’t been any thought that Johnson hasn’t been doing everything he can to fight his way out of his struggles.
And the 2.1 innings of scoreless relief he threw Saturday was especially well thought of by the A’s.
Jeff Francis, who came out of the bullpen to get the last two outs and save the win for Johnson, was effusive.
“The way Jimmy stayed out there, it was a tremendous job he did,’’ Francis said.
Johnson threw scoreless relief in the 12th and 13th innings. When the 14th rolled around and the A’s finally had a lead, he had some back luck, including a broken-bat single and an infield hit led to the bases getting loaded with one out.
Manager Bob Melvin said it was “really asking a lot’’ to try and get three innings from a pitcher more accustomed to getting one.
Sean Doolittle said Johnson going out there three times like he did, it was amazing to see the extent to which J.J. and the whole bullpen exerted their will.
Johnson, the A’s closer to begin the season and now a middle reliever with a 3-2 record and a 5.14 ERA, isn’t likely ever to close for the A’s again. He may in fact be traded before too much longer.
But his teammates haven’t heard him bemoan his fate. They say he’s committed to helping the team win. And for that, he has their respect.