BALTIMORE -- Orioles closer Jim Johnson entered Wednesday night's game to cheers from the crowd at Camden Yards, a sign of faith in the struggling right-hander that didn't go unnoticed.
Asked if he thought the stoic Johnson -- who went on to record his 16th save -- appreciated the gesture more than he let on, manager Buck Showalter said yes.
"He hasn't said anything to me and he won't," Showalter said. "But, you know, with Jimmy, it's just he'll look at me and I'll look at him, he'll make some eye contact and he knows -- I know what he's thinking, and he's got a pretty good idea what I'm thinking."
Johnson, who hurled a 1-2-3 ninth inning, was going to pitch in Wednesday's game, save situation or not, given that he had a few days off prior to that. The 29-year-old, who saved 35 consecutive games before blowing four of five, has been working hard to get back on track and put the rough stretch behind him.
"I feel better," said Johnson, who has struggled mainly with his location. "I'm just trying to make the adjustments that I have to and just continuing that, and trust that what I'm doing is the right thing."
Johnson, who led the Majors with 51 saves last year, said his offspeed pitches were a little better on Wednesday night and he will continue to learn from his previous struggles. The O's closer has had the public support of Showalter throughout the process.
"I look at everything, you take the good with the bad," Johnson said. "You watch the video, you take what you take out of it. You can overanalyze things, but there's keys in my delivery, there's keys in being successful and I'm going to continue to focus on those."
Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Twitter @britt_ghiroli. Derek Wetmore is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less