Closer role to be shared as Cook rights ship

Closer role to be shared as Cook rights ship

CHICAGO -- No longer relying solely on Ryan Cook in the ninth inning, A's manager Bob Melvin said save situations would be shared in the coming days.

Cook has not lost his job, Melvin insisted. He's simply undergoing a brief role change, following struggles that brought about nine runs allowed over his previous eight games.

"It just means maybe we're targeting a spot for him that's not closing at this point," Melvin said. "It could be one time, it could be a couple, and he knows that."

In an effort to get the rookie some confidence back, Melvin said he would "like to get him a nice clean inning where, potentially, it's not of the magnitude of closing."

Cook entered Saturday's 9-7 win in the seventh inning with one out and a runner on first and promptly gave up two singles to allow the White Sox to take a 7-6 lead. He escaped further damage with an inning-ending double play before exiting in the eighth with two outs and runner, on base via a hit-by-pitch, on first.

The likely go-to guy in the ninth is right-hander Grant Balfour, who compiled 13 1/3 scoreless innings before allowing a home run to the Angels' Mark Trumbo on Wednesday. Balfour began the season as the team's closer, before he, too, was relegated to a setup role after a string of troubled outings.