TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) -Randy Johnson threw batting practice for the first time this spring on Thursday and called it no big deal.
``I don't think there's anything really to discuss until I actually start getting into a game,'' Johnson said after throwing about 50 pitches. ``I mean, I'm not going to push it or anything throwing batting practice.''
It was the first time the 44-year-old lefty has thrown to batters since he underwent back surgery in August, his second such operation in less than a year. The five-time Cy Young winner has 284 career victories.
``It's basically no different than throwing a side,'' Johnson said. ``What I got out of it was I extended the pitch count and saw a hitter in the batter's box, basically.''
Manager Bob Melvin said another such session will be held in three or four days, then a decision will be made on whether to give Johnson his first start of the spring. Johnson said he increased his pitches by about 16 from his last bullpen session.
``Really good again,'' Melvin said in assessing Johnson's effort. ``He didn't feel like he had to step on it, no urgency to rush type of thing.''
Johnson threw mostly fastballs with a few changeups and splitters.
``We're looking more than anything for health each time and, knock on wood, it's been good every time out,'' Melvin said. ``He hasn't been very uncomfortable. He had one little bit of a dead arm day, which everybody does, all pitchers do, then he was back out there free and easy again.''

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