Detroit wasted no time in calling up Jim Johnson, adding him to the bullpen after just 4.2 innings in the minors following his release by Oakland.
Johnson made his Tigers debut Sunday against the Mariners, coming in to pitch the sixth inning trailing 4-0, and allowed three runs while recording two outs. (In fairness, he was also hurt by an error behind him.)
Johnson had a 7.14 ERA in 38 appearances for the A’s and allowed three runs in four Triple-A appearances, so aside from his pre-2014 track record as the Orioles’ closer there wasn’t much evidence that the 31-year-old right-hander was on the verge of turning things around.
He’s now allowed 36 runs in 41 innings this season.
Following the Mets’ recent signing of first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, Mike Puma of the New York Post reports that fellow first baseman Dominic Smith is likely to start the season with Triple-A Las Vegas. That is contingent, of course, on the veteran Gonzalez’s ability to remain healthy, which isn’t a guarantee.
Smith, 22, struggled last season, batting .198/.262/.395 in 183 plate appearances. The Mets have also expressed concern about Smith’s conditioning. Puma reported in November that as a result of better dietary choices and a daily exercise regimen, Smith had already lost 11-12 pounds.
Gonzalez, 35, didn’t exactly have a stellar 2017 campaign. Along with battling back issues, Gonzalez hit .242/.287/.355 in 252 PA. That the Mets’ Plan A is to go with Gonzalez over Smith says something about their confidence in Smith.