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Diamondbacks' Johnson plans on bullpen session later this week

PHOENIX -- A day after acknowledging the possibility that he
might not return this season because of his injured back, Arizona's
Randy Johnson told the Diamondbacks he will throw another bullpen
session later this week.

Johnson threw to hitters on Tuesday for the first time since his
appearance against the Los Angeles Dodgers on June 29. The
43-year-old left-hander said after the 42-pitch simulated game that
he wanted to know whether he'd be able to help the team.

"I was surprised with some of the things I read when he came in
today and said he was ready to go on Friday," Diamondbacks manager
Bob Melvin said before Wednesday's game against Florida. "He was
just a little bit tired toward end of bullpen session. That was
all. The first two innings of it were pretty crisp but then he got
a little tired.

"He's a pretty demanding guy and has a high standard for
himself. If it doesn't go 100 percent the way he wants it to, you
may see a side of him that's not the normal combative guy competing
all the time."

Johnson, a four-time Cy Young Award winner reacquired by Arizona from the New York Yankees during the offseason, was coming off back surgery and started the season on the DL. He returned in late April
and went 4-3 with a 3.81 ERA in 10 starts before he was sidelined
on July 11 with muscle tightness.

Johnson returned to the disabled list, was activated for his
start against the Dodgers, then was diagnosed with a herniated disk
in his lower back.

"Everything kind of is dictated upon how he feels the next
day," Melvin said. "Based on what he did yesterday and how he
feels today, we feel he feels good enough to push forward and throw
his bullpen on Friday. Going forward I think we're right on
schedule."