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By Dan Connolly and The Baltimore Sun | April 12, 2014
Like much of Baltimore, the Orioles organization has watched with interest as former closer Jim Johnson has struggled this early season with the Oakland Athletics. Interest probably isn't the right word. Try empathy. “Everybody's been there. Everybody's had a time where they're not pitching up to their potential,” said Orioles' set-up man Darren O'Day, who was one of Johnson's closer friends on the club. “I've been there. Tommy [Hunter] has been there. When I was with the [Texas]
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By Eduardo A. Encina and The Baltimore Sun | April 14, 2014
The last time Grant Balfour was in Baltimore, he thought he had landed in the place where he'd spend the next two years of his career. In December, Balfour arrived at the Warehouse to take a club physical that he believed would be the last step in finalizing a two-year, $15 million deal to replace Jim Johnson as Orioles closer. But instead of being introduced as the Orioles' new closer as he had expected, Balfour left town frustrated after being told that team doctors found something in the physical that they did not like.
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By Eduardo A. Encina and The Baltimore Sun | April 14, 2014
The last time Grant Balfour was in Baltimore, he thought he had landed in the place where he'd spend the next two years of his career. In December, Balfour arrived at the Warehouse to take a club physical that he believed would be the last step in finalizing a two-year, $15 million deal to replace Jim Johnson as Orioles closer. But instead of being introduced as the Orioles' new closer as he had expected, Balfour left town frustrated after being told that team doctors found something in the physical that they did not like.
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By Peter Schmuck and The Baltimore Sun | April 13, 2014
The Orioles have only scored two runs in 21 innings against the Toronto Blue Jays, but Saturday night's 2-1 victory at Camden Yards had the heady feel of one of those extra-inning wins that made 2012 such a magical year. And the Orioles still have a chance to win the series if they can muster some offense against Blue Jays left-hander Mark Buehrle today. David Lough eventually delivered a game-winning single off Toronto reliever Todd Redmond after Steve Lombardozzi hit a long triple to center field with one out in the 12th inning.
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By Dan Connolly and The Baltimore Sun | May 14, 2013
Jim Johnson's impressive regular season saves streak came to an end at 35 on Tuesday night when he allowed four singles and two runs in the ninth in the Orioles' 3-2 loss to the San Diego Padres . Johnson hadn't blown a regular season save since he gave up six runs in one third of an inning to the Oakland A's on July 27, 2012. He did blow one in the postseason - Game 3 of the ALDS in New York on Oct. 10 - but that didn't count toward the streak. Point is Johnson has been unbelievably good for the last year-plus, and so when he blows one it is newsworthy.
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By Dan Connolly | July 28, 2012
Orioles fans have been spoiled by just how good closer Jim Johnson has been in 2012. He had blown two of his 32 save chances heading into Friday night. He has been nearly as automatic as a closer can be. But on Friday he simply didn't have sharp command, and the Oakland A's singled him to death - five singles and a walk after getting the first out on an excellent play by first baseman Mark Reynolds. “I fell behind and a couple balls got through,” Johnson said. “It just kind of happened.
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By Daniel Gallen and The Baltimore Sun | July 1, 2013
While Chris Davis crushed his way through an Orioles record earlier Friday night with his 31st home run of the season, closer Jim Johnson achieved his own milestone about 90 minutes later in the Orioles' 4-2 win over the New York Yankees. When Johnson got Yankees center fielder Brett Gardner to ground out to second baseman Alexi Casilla, who flipped the ball with his glove to shortstop J.J. Hardy to force catcher Chris Stewart out at second base, it closed the door on Johnson's 28th save of the season -- and his 100th of his career.
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The Baltimore Sun | September 18, 2012
Closer Jim Johnson has been named the Orioles' nominee for the 2012 Roberto Clemente Award, which recognizes a player "who best represents the game of baseball through positive contributions on and off the field, including sportsmanship and community involvement. " Beginning today, fans can vote for the national Clemente award recipient at MLB.com/ClementeAward and register for a chance to win a trip to the World Series. The award is named for the Hall of Famer who died in a plane crash on New Year's Eve 1972 while attempting to deliver supplies to earthquake victims in Nicaragua.  “I don't really do things for name recognition,” said Johnson, who will be recognized as the club's award recipient at a ceremony Monday at Camden Yards.
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By Dan Connolly and The Baltimore Sun | July 6, 2013
     Jim Johnson's sixth blown save - which ties him with setup man James Russell of the Chicago Cubs for the major league lead - on Friday night in the Bronx was particularly painful to watch.     That's partially because Johnson did much of the damage to himself. He made a costly error on a routine sacrifice bunt. And he issued a four-pitch walk that tied the game.      Johnson was beating himself up after the game for the error. And that's typical Johnson. But, frankly, errors happen.
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By Dan Connolly and The Baltimore Sun | March 31, 2012
If you are looking for a little good Orioles' news, here you go. Closer Jim Johnson, who had been dealing with back issues, pitched in consecutive games for the first time this spring and looked pretty good. In fact, Orioles manager Buck Showalter said it is the best he has looked this month. Johnson walked a batter, struck out one and got two groundouts. He threw 19 pitches, 10 for strikes, and his fastball was clocked at 94, 95 mph. “There was some unknown, he went through a little bit of an offseason that he has never done before,” Showalter said.
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By Dan Connolly and The Baltimore Sun | April 12, 2014
Like much of Baltimore, the Orioles organization has watched with interest as former closer Jim Johnson has struggled this early season with the Oakland Athletics. Interest probably isn't the right word. Try empathy. “Everybody's been there. Everybody's had a time where they're not pitching up to their potential,” said Orioles' set-up man Darren O'Day, who was one of Johnson's closer friends on the club. “I've been there. Tommy [Hunter] has been there. When I was with the [Texas]
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The Baltimore Sun | April 9, 2014
Oakland Athletics closer Jim Johnson struggled once again Wednesday, but the offense bailed him out in extra innings in a 7-4 win over the Minnesota Twins at Target Field. With a 4-2 lead entering the bottom of the ninth, Johnson allowed a single to the Twins' Jason Kubel and walked Kurt Suzuki before getting the first out. The former Orioles closer then walked Aaron Hicks to load the bases and gave up an RBI single to Eduardo Escobar before being removed from the game. Right-hander Dan Otero entered for Johnson and gave up a sacrifice fly to Minnesota's Brian Dozier to tie the game, 4-4. Otero pitched the final 2 2/3 innings to pick up the win. Johnson's ERA rose to 18.90 after his third rough outing in five appearances this season.
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By Dan Connolly, The Baltimore Sun | March 31, 2014
Eventually, new Orioles closer Tommy Hunter was going to get a big-boy, pressure-cooker, no-margin-for-error save opportunity - that's what happens when you pitch the ninth inning in the major leagues. He got it out of the way quickly, allowing a single and hitting a batter, but ultimately pitching a scoreless ninth Monday to preserve the Orioles' 2-1 win on Opening Day against the Boston Red Sox. "Earn it. That's a way of life and baseball, I think," Hunter said. "You've got to earn everything you get. One-run game to start the season off against the defending world champs, here we are. " As Hunter entered the game in the ninth, the announced crowd of 46,685 roared its approval.
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Peter Schmuck | March 30, 2014
For too long, the Orioles and their fans have lived in a fishbowl full of excuses. The Baltimore market was too small to compete on the same economic level as the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox. The owner was unwilling to spend enough of the club's regional sports network revenue to build a competitive team in the tough American League East. And, when Peter Angelos did open his wallet, the Orioles felt like they were spending "Confederate money. " If that wasn't enough reason for the 14 years that the Orioles wallowed in despair before their dramatic turnaround in 2012, they also were bedeviled for much of that time by a horribly substandard spring training situation.
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By Peter Schmuck and The Baltimore Sun | March 29, 2014
SARASOTA, Fla. - If there is one thing you need to know about reliever Tommy Hunter, it is that he is the interpersonal opposite of the guy the Orioles hope he replaces in the critical closer role. Jim Johnson, who last year became the first American League reliever with 50 or more saves in back-to-back seasons, remained all business, all the time. Whether he was warming up for a big save situation, going about his duties as the clubhouse union representative or putting together the club's annual spring training charity golf tournament, there was not a lot of nonsense.
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By Dan Connolly, The Baltimore Sun | March 18, 2014
In early December, Jemile Weeks' baseball career was thrown upside down. He was traded away from the only organization he had ever known, the Oakland Athletics, and sent to the Orioles for one of the franchise's most popular players, closer Jim Johnson, in what was immediately deemed a salary dump. Although the 27-year-old second baseman viewed it as a new opportunity, the external pressure was once again descending on Weeks, a 2008 first-rounder who grew up playing in, and around, the shadow of his All-Star big brother, Rickie.
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By Dan Connolly and The Baltimore Sun | May 11, 2013
Closer Jim Johnson set another Orioles franchise record Friday, converting his 35th consecutive save in the regular season (14 this year, most in the American League). That dates back to July 27th last year against Oakland. That's a pretty impressive streak, eclipsing Randy Myers one of 34 straight saves in 1997. Johnson kicked Myers out of the club record book last year as well when he set a single-season franchise record with 51 saves in 2012. You can make the argument that Johnson's stability at the back of the bullpen may be the biggest key to the Orioles' run the past year-plus.
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By Dan Connolly and The Baltimore Sun | September 27, 2013
Orioles executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette was definitive Friday afternoon when asked whether closer Jim Johnson would be tendered a contract for 2014. “Oh, yeah,” Duquette said. Johnson, who leads the American League in saves (48) and blown saves (nine), will be in his final year of arbitration this winter. In February, he agreed to a $6.5 million contract after leading the majors in saves with 51 (in 54 chances). Those two seasons combined, Duquette said, show that the 30-year-old Johnson is deserving of being considered part of the Orioles' core.
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By Eduardo A. Encina, The Baltimore Sun | March 16, 2014
SARASOTA, Fla. - When the Orioles signed right-handed relief pitcher Ryan Webb in December, executive vice president Dan Duquette quickly compared him to Jim Johnson, who had been traded earlier that month. And while the comparison wasn't necessarily fair since the departed Johnson had compiled back-to-back 50-save seasons before he was dealt to the Oakland Athletics, both possess heavy sinkers that can lead to early contact and quick outs, which can be valuable while pitching in critical late-inning situations in the American League East.
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By Eduardo A. Encina and The Baltimore Sun | February 22, 2014
SARASOTA, Fla. - The Orioles' sudden spring training spending spree continued Saturday as the club agreed to terms on a one-year deal with free-agent outfielder Nelson Cruz, according to industry sources. The deal, which is pending a physical and was first reported by ESPN Deportes, is worth $8 million with $750,000 in incentives, according to a source. After spending much of the offseason in a holding pattern, the Orioles' acquisition of Cruz would be their third free-agent acquisition in a little more than a week, raising their projected Opening Day payroll to approximately $105 million - the highest in franchise history - and addressing two of their biggest offseason needs.
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