PHOENIX -- There is plenty of upside for pitcher Jim Johnson in his new role with the A's, not the least of which is getting to close games for a two-time A.L. West champion.
But he'll probably have to give up his Screen Actors Guild card.
Johnson appears in Season 2 of Netflix's House of Cards along with former Orioles teammate Nate McLouth, in large part because he was a big name not far from Washington, where the series is located.
"They were shooting a scene at Camden Yards," Johnson said of his time on the small screen. "I had a couple of lines, but they cut them out. It's crazy how the whole thing works. They shoot (scenes) for hours and hours and then they just use two minutes.''
Oakland Athletics catcher John Jaso, left, and pitcher Jim Johnson sign autographs to fans as Miguel Morales, 9, smiles during the Oakland A's Fanfest 2014 at O.co Coliseum in Oakland, Calif., on Saturday, Feb. 8, 2014. (Ray Chavez/Bay Area New Group)
That actually should work for Johnson, who in saving 101 games for the Orioles the last two seasons, had saves that didn't take much longer than that. Joe Savery could have waited until Wednesday for his physical exam and until Thursday to suit up for Oakland, but just about an hour after his plane landed in Phoenix, the left-handed reliever was taking part in an informal workout at Phoenix Municipal Stadium.
The A's claimed Savery on Monday on waivers from the Phillies, who needed roster space after signing starter A.J. Burnett.
The A's are looking for left-handed depth in the bullpen, and Savery throws 90-93 mph while mixing in a slider. He is competing for a spot with Fernando Abad, who was acquired this winter from the Nationals.
Sean Doolittle is assured of a job in the A's bullpen, while Tommy Milone, primarily a starter, could wind up in relief. The A's also have Eric O'Flaherty, who spent the 2013 season with the Atlanta Braves but is currently on the 60-day disabled list recovering from Tommy John surgery. All position players are expected to report Wednesday with the first full team workout on Thursday. The latest new faces in camp included shortstop Jed Lowrie, outfielder Sam Fuld and infielder Nick Punto. Position players have physical exams Wednesday and work out officially for the first time Thursday. Many already have been working out. Catcher Derek Norris is putting in extra work on his throwing this spring. He had a decent year after coming to the A's in 2012, but he was inconsistent last season. Manager Bob Melvin said that may have to do with Norris playing only part time in 2013. "You have to find what works to keep your mechanics," the manager said. "It's harder when you don't play every day." Melvin, a former catcher, says he's going to need some clarification on the new rules banning catchers from blocking the plate before the A's map out how they want their catching corps to train for the situation. Pomeranz, throwing off the mound for the first time Tuesday after missing time with a leg problem, impressed Melvin with his fastball. The manager said Pomeranz "definitely has a lot of upside," and he will be stretched out, leaving open the option that he could start somewhere.
For more on the A's, see John Hickey's Insider at blogs.ibabuzz.com/athletics. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/JHickey3.
NEXT MAN UP
Jim Johnson is in line to take over Oakland's revolving door at the closer spot. Here's a look at the A's saves leaders over the last 10 seasons:
Year Closer Saves
2013 Grant Balfour 38
2012 Balfour 24
2011 Andrew Bailey 24
2010 Bailey 25
2009 Bailey 26
2008 Huston Street 18
2007 Alan Embree 17
2006 Street 37
2005 Street 23
2004 Octavio Dotel 22