Johnson strikes out 7 in potential final minor league start
TUCSON, Ariz. -- Randy Johnson struck out seven in six innings for Triple-A Tucson on Tuesday night in what probably was his final minor league rehabilitation start.
The 44-year-old left-hander, coming off his second back surgery in less than a year, allowed three runs and three hits against Salt Lake City. He walked one and had two wild pitches.
Salt Lake's Brandon Wood hit a solo home run off Johnson.
Arizona manager Bob Melvin tentatively has scheduled Johnson to make his first start of the season for the Diamondbacks on Monday night in San Francisco.
Johnson felt he accomplished what he hoped would in the outing.
"The more you throw the better you start feeling," he said. "I knew I had to pitch better. There were a lot less mistakes. There were mistakes still made like the three hits. All of them were mistake pitches and that's going to happen in the course of a real game."
He threw 85 pitches, 58 strikes.
"My location was a lot better. I would have loved to have gotten this kind of game in my last start," Johnson said. "I got a lot of work in. There are things I need to correct and not have things happen at the major league level."
He retired the last eight batters he faced after Wood's fourth-inning home run.
"I felt fairly much in control so that was a big positive," Johnson said. "I do feel a lot more positive about this start. I got more work in and all my pitches were working. I was pitching ahead in the count and that makes all the difference. For the most part, I was pitching pretty effective. If I make quality pitches, good things are going to happen for the most part."
Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press