Johnson,Diamondbacks Bested by Elder Southpaw
Randy Johnson (Getty Images)

Posted Apr 25, 2007


In his first official outing since wearing Yankee pinstripes and in a matchup that featured the oldest pair of left-handed starting pitchers in major league history, Randy Johnson couldn't get the best of another former Yankee, David Wells. The Arizona Diamondbacks lost 10-5 to the San Diego Padres. ALSO: A health update on Conor Jackson.

INSIDE PITCH

The 43-year-old Johnson, making his season debut for Arizona after months of rehab following back surgery, allowed six runs and six hits in five innings during a 10-5 loss to Wells, who turns 44 next month, and the San Diego Padres at Chase Field.

Johnson allowed two home runs and walked four batters, two intentionally. He also hit two others during a 97-pitch outing in which he threw just 53 pitches for strikes. The pitches that hurt him the most seemed to be simply left up in the strike zone, although he had a familiar bite to his trademark slider.

"I thought everything went pretty well," said Johnson, who struck out seven San Diego hitters. "(But) it's not the way I would have written things up."

Johnson won 17 games for the Yankees last season, but he did most of his work pitching with a bad back, which eventually required surgery in October to repair a damaged disk.

"I don't want to hash out last year," said Johnson, who touched 96 mph on Tuesday. "I'm looking forward to this year. The bottom line is, I'm looking for results. Spring training's over for me."

San Diego's Khalil Greene, who tied his career high with four hits and also had four RBIs, said Johnson was tough to hit despite his poor pitching line.

"He was pretty sharp," Greene said. "He was throwing hard, and his slider had good depth on it."

PADRES 10, DIAMONDBACKS 5: Arizona suffered its fifth consecutive loss in Randy Johnson's season debut, as the Big Unit allowed a two-run homer to Adrian Gonzalez, a game-tying solo home run to Jose Cruz Jr., and then a bases-clearing, three-run double to Khalil Greene. The Diamondbacks weren't out of it, but left-handed reliever Dana Eveland got rocked for three runs in the sixth inning to put things out of reach. Arizona fell to 10-11 on the season.

NOTES, QUOTES

--LHP Randy Johnson's return to the Diamondbacks, with whom he captured four consecutive Cy Young Awards, didn't generate much excitement at the gate in Phoenix. With the NBA's Suns hosting the Lakers down the street, Tuesday's game at Chase Field drew just 19,508, the smallest crowd in nine home games to date.

--1B Conor Jackson had an MRI exam after aggravating a hamstring injury on Sunday in San Francisco, but there was no further damage found. He is only suffering from inflammation in the muscle. Jackson is available for pinch-hit duty, but he probably won't return to the starting lineup until Thursday, manager Bob Melvin said.

--RF Carlos Quentin, who began the year on the disabled list with a slight labrum tear in his left shoulder, hit his first home run of the season on Tuesday against Padres LHP David Wells.

--RHP Micah Owings, on the disabled list with a tight hamstring, is expected to throw a bullpen session Wednesday and could make a minor league rehab start this weekend for Class AAA Tucson, manager Bob Melvin said.

--RHP Juan Cruz, on the disabled list with a strained triceps muscle, will begin playing catch Wednesday or Thursday in his effort to get back into a relief role.

--RHP Yusmeiro Petit, who lost his lone big-league start Sunday against the Giants despite pitching well for seven innings, was optioned to Class AAA Tucson to clear a roster spot for the return of LHP Randy Johnson.

BY THE NUMBERS: 20 -- Wins needed by LHP Randy Johnson to reach the 300-win plateau.

QUOTE TO NOTE:
"I know that's his antics on the mound. He wasn't showing me up, (but) when a guy does that every time, it's like he expects to blow the game, and when he doesn't blow it, he's happy for it." -- Padres 1B Adrian Gonzalez on Diamondbacks closer Jose Valverde, whose wild celebratory gestures on the mound often rub hitters the wrong way.

MEDICAL WATCH:

1B Conor Jackson (pulled right hamstring) left the game April 22. He is day-to-day.

RHP Juan Cruz (triceps strain) went on the disabled list on April 21. He might begin playing catch April 25 or April 26.

RHP Micah Owings (right hamstring pull) went on the disabled list on April 21. He is expected to throw a bullpen session on April 25.

LHP Randy Johnson (back surgery in October to repair a herniated disk) was activated from the disabled list on April 24.

OF Jeff DaVanon (left ankle, right shoulder surgery) was expected to get a cortisone shot in mid-April to help him hit from the left side of the plate. He started the season on the disabled list.


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