Jim Johnson expresses a preference to be a starter next year

Even though he has been one of the better relievers in the American League this year and is 7-for-7 in save chances since Sept. 7, the talk about Jim Johnson moving into a starter’s role next year won’t go away.

No one has committed to it yet for 2012, but Johnson today expressed a preference to be a starter next season.

“I’ll do what the team asks me to do and needs me to do, but I would still like the idea to start, because I think I can be helpful in that position,” Johnson said.

He’s enjoyed the closer’s role this month also.

“I think there are bonuses to both parts. But I always thought the best part to being a starter was late in the game, you can still be in there,” he said. “It’s rewarding on both ends.”

Johnson said he figures to talk to Buck Showalter early in the offseason as he plans for next season and finds out if he will be moved into the rotation. He feels he can handle that role.

“It would just be kind of a different endurance and workout in the offseason,” Johnson, who is 5-5 with a 2.70 ERA and nine saves, said. “During spring, I don’t think a whole lot would change throwing-wise before the spring and then in spring training, you’d just get stretched out. Wouldn’t be that much different.

“Any starter’s goal is to pitch deep into the ballgame and I think that is one thing I’d focus on, if it did happen.”

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