D-Backs place Cruz on DL, say Unit starts Tuesday

Updated: April 22, 2007, 2:44 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Arizona Diamondbacks got some good news and bad news on the pitching front on Saturday.

They placed right-hander Juan Cruz on the 15-day disabled list but said they will activate Randy Johnson from the DL to start Tuesday's home game against the Padres.

Randy Johnson

Johnson, who had back surgery in October, is making his return to Arizona after spending the previous two seasons with the New York Yankees.

Johnson, 43, allowed two runs and six hits in six innings, walking one and striking out seven in his final rehab start for Tucson last Thursday.

"I think he felt good about the last several innings when he picked up the intensity," Melvin said. "Sometimes you feel your way through those rehab assignments. It's not the same type of feel. I expect the intensity to increase that much more."

Johnson's return will allow Melvin to give reigning NL Cy Young winner Brandon Webb and Livan Hernandez an extra day of rest between starts. Webb will pitch Wednesday and Hernandez the following day.

Cruz is sidelined with a strained muscle below the back of his right shoulder

Arizona recalled righty Dustin Nippert from Triple-A Tucson.

Cruz, who was 2-0 with a 3.24 ERA in seven appearances, injured himself Thursday against San Diego and is expected to come back soon after his 15-day stint is up.

"It wasn't something where we could let it go for two or three days, let him play catch and see where he is," manager Bob Melvin said before Saturday's game against the San Francisco Giants. "We had to make the move now."

Nippert had been optioned to Tucson before Friday's game to make room for lefty Dana Eveland. Nippert had made five relief appearances for Arizona before being sent down, allowing three runs in six innings.

The Diamondbacks will have to make another move before Sunday's series finale to bring up a starter to replace Micah Owings, who was placed on the disabled list Friday with an injured right hamstring.

Right-hander Yusmeiro Petit, acquired late in spring training in a deal with Florida, is scheduled to be recalled from Tucson on Sunday to make the start.

The 22-year-old Petit made his big league debut last year with the Marlins, going 1-1 with a 9.57 ERA in 15 games. The right-hander has been a starter throughout his minor league career.

Petit impressed the Diamondbacks in his one spring training appearance with the team. He allowed one run and three hits in five innings against San Diego in a game played at Chase Field. He walked one and struck out seven in the game.

"He had good command to both sides of the plate and his velocity was better than we'd seen in some reports," Melvin said. "He struggled a little bit in the big leagues as a reliever. His routine seems a little more suited to start."

Petit was 1-1 with a 5.40 ERA in two starts for Tucson.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.