It may not be permanent. It may not be as successful as it has looked on two other spot-start occasions. But it's official: Yusmeiro Petit will take over for injured Randy Johnson in the Diamondbacks rotation.
The right-hander will start Sunday in Cincinnati against Aaron Harang after filling in for Johnson on Tuesday in St. Louis. Pitching on short rest, Petit allowed one run and five hits in 5 1/3 innings during Arizona's 5-1 win.
In his only other start of the season, April 22 at San Francisco, Petit allowed two runs and four hits over seven innings. He took the loss, however, as the Giants pulled out a 2-1 victory.
Some scouts have compared Petit to a young Livan Hernandez in certain respects.
"It's not just strikes, it's in and out," Diamondbacks first baseman Chad Tracy said of Petit. "There's not a whole lot in the middle of the plate."
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Johnson, 43, began the season on the disabled list as he recovered from October back surgery to repair a herniated disk in his lower back. It recently was learned through an MRI exam that Johnson has a herniated disk in the same spot. Surgery hasn't been discussed publicly, but it remains an option, which would end Johnson's season. He is under contract for another year.
CARDINALS 5, DIAMONDBACKS 4: Right-hander Livan Hernandez hit his ninth career home run Wednesday, but even though he gave Arizona a three-run cushion, the Diamondbacks wound up on the losing end after St. Louis rallied late.
Juan Encarnacion and Scott Rolen hit RBI doubles in the eighth inning after Chris Duncan and Brendan Ryan hit solo home runs off Hernandez in the seventh. The Cardinals earned second win over the Diamondbacks in three games.
Hernandez hit a two-run homer off Brad Thompson with two outs in the seventh inning. It was his first homer since April 19 last season at Philadelphia.
The four-game series wraps up Thursday. Left-hander Doug Davis (5-9, 4.29 ERA) makes the start for the Diamondbacks.
--LHP Randy Johnson returned to Phoenix on Wednesday, a day after being placed on the disabled list because of back and leg problems. "He has a trainer that he rehabs with there, that he has rehabbed in the past with," manager Bob Melvin said. "We have people at home that have worked with him for quite a while. We just felt like it was better to get him with these people in the same place."
As for Johnson's rehab schedule, not much is planned for now. "We'll get through this All-Star break, we'll get through the 10-day period that he has to be on the DL, and then we'll just see where we're at when he starts playing catch."
--Manager Bob Melvin on Randy Johnson's persona when the left-hander is on the mound: "The intimidation factor definitely comes with him. We get that psychological advantage when he takes the mound, even at this age (43) and even where he is in his career. ... That's always gone along with him. His performance is one thing. The intimidation factor that he brings to the mound is another thing. Combine those two things and you have a guy that's got 280-something wins and is going to be a Hall of Famer and maybe the most dominating left-hander in baseball history."
--LHP Doug Davis is 2-7 with a 3.71 ERA in nine road games this season. He makes his 10th start Thursday in St. Louis as the Diamondbacks try to salvage a split in the four-game series.
--RHP Livan Hernandez is now 0-3 with four no-decisions in his last seven starts. He allowed three runs and 10 hits through seven innings against the Cardinals on Wednesday. RHP Brandon Lyon took the loss to fall to 5-3.
--3B Mark Reynolds got another start, which has become more of a pattern in recent games as Chad Tracy has moved from third to first base on several occasions. Manager Bob Melvin said of Reynolds, "It's like having a shortstop over at third base. He takes balls out of the hole."
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