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."
Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press