|Randy Johnson pain-free in first spring training start; DeRosa returns to field|
|Written by Admin|
|Monday, 10 March 2008 16:17|
Pitching in a game for the first time since June, Johnson lasted 1 1-3 innings Monday during Arizona's 10-9 victory over the NL champion Colorado Rockies at Tucson, Ariz.
The 44-year-old left-hander gave up three runs and four hits, including a three-run homer by Chris Iannetta. He walked one and struck out one.
``I've got a long ways to go, but I'm just happy to be able to get out there and pitch pain-free,'' Johnson said. ``Comparing today to the last time I pitched at Chase (Field), it's night and day. So I'm happy about that. The results will come as I pitch more.''
The Big Unit was on the mound for the first time since June 28. Last summer, he underwent back surgery for the second time in less than a year, but Monday he said he felt healthy.
``I'm not looking too much at results,'' he said. ``I'm looking to gain some endurance and stamina and work on my location and all those other little things on top of monitoring my back at the same time.''
Johnson threw 20 of his 33 pitches for strikes. The five-time Cy Young Award winner left to a standing ovation from fans behind the visitors' dugout at Hi Corbett Field.
``Minus the results today, there was a lot of positive things,'' he said. ``But as competitive as I am, I'm still disappointed that I would pitch like that.''
Johnson said he wasn't sure what to expect when he took the mound on a sunny, 67-degree afternoon.
``I was actually kind of nervous,'' he said. ``Today, anything could have happened. I could have thrown a pitch and it could have been over. It wasn't. The point being is that I didn't know what to expect. I put a lot of hard work into it, but I can see that I still have a long ways to go to get my innings under my belt and to get where I need to be.''
Johnson expects to make his next scheduled start, against the Los Angeles Angels on Saturday. Arizona manager Bob Melvin wouldn't speculate on whether Johnson might be ready to open the season with the big league team as the Diamondbacks defend their NL West title.
``I'm not going to rule anything out,'' Melvin said. ``If you look at where he is compared to some of the other starters right now, it might be a stretch. I'm just not going to commit to anything along those lines yet.''
DeRosa played for the first time since undergoing a heart procedure on Feb. 28 and went 0-for-3 in the Chicago Cubs' 6-4 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers at Phoenix.
``Just to get out there and break a sweat and be with the guys was fun,'' the second baseman said. ``I hadn't seen live pitching since (the postseason). I didn't strike out. Three balls in play, not quality, but I'll take and build off of it.''
DeRosa, beginning his second season with the Cubs, experienced a rapid heartbeat on Feb. 23 during infield drills. He spent a night in an Arizona hospital before returning to Chicago for a procedure that involved using electrical energy to destroy tissues in the heart that were causing the rhythmic disturbances.
He said he'd had the condition since he was a teenager, but acknowledged there were some tense moments thinking about his short recovery time.
``The first three or four days were rough, just the scare factor of it, just dealing with the fact that I just had heart surgery and now I'm going to go back and play baseball,'' said DeRosa, who hit .293 with 10 homers and 72 RBIs last season. ``That kind of ended just when I got back into the clubhouse with the guys. They take your mind off of it pretty quick.''
DeRosa said he's fine and focusing now on getting his timing back.
``I feel better than normal because what my normal used to be has been enhanced. I feel really good. It was good to be out there,'' he said. ``Now it's time to forget about it and start working on the fundamentals.''
In other news, Texas Rangers pitcher Brandon McCarthy likely will start the season on the disabled list because of inflammation in his forearm. Though an MRI showed no ligament damage, McCarthy is expected to be sidelined four to six weeks. The 6-foot-7 right-hander apparently won't need surgery.
In other spring training games:
Red Sox 1, Mets 1, 10 innings
At Port St. Lucie, Fla., Johan Santana pitched four scoreless innings and New York got Carlos Beltran and Carlos Delgado back from injuries.
Angels 5, Athletics 4
At Tempe, Ariz., John Lackey made his first appearance of spring training, allowing one run and two hits in 1 2-3 innings for Los Angeles. He had been limited to side work this spring because of a sore right elbow.
Indians 12, Rays 10
At St. Petersburg, Fla., Tampa Bay lefty Scott Kazmir, sidelined the past two weeks with an elbow strain, threw a bullpen session and hopes to make his first spring training start as soon as Sunday against Detroit.
Tigers 4, Nationals 3
At Viera, Fla., Justin Verlander threw three scoreless innings, striking out three for Detroit. He has pitched eight scoreless innings this spring.
Astros 4, Blue Jays 3
At Kissimmee, Fla., Roy Oswalt allowed three runs and six hits in four innings for Houston. Fellow ace Roy Halladay struck out five in four innings for Toronto. He yielded three runs and six hits, including Lance Berkman's homer.
Dodgers 7, Orioles 4
At Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Chan Ho Park tossed three perfect innings for Los Angeles to keep his ERA spotless. Manager Joe Torre and a split squad of Dodgers will leave Tuesday for Orlando to catch their flight to Beijing for two exhibition games against San Diego.
Twins 4, Marlins 2
At Jupiter, Fla., Rick VandenHurk pitched two scoreless innings for Florida before giving up three runs in the third. Minnesota starter Kevin Slowey allowed six hits in three shutout innings.
Braves 3, Cardinals 1
At Kissimmee, Fla., Jair Jurrjens ran his scoreless streak to eight innings, limiting St. Louis to two singles and a walk over four innings.
Pirates 8, Phillies 5
At Bradenton, Fla., Ian Snell gave up a homer to Pat Burrell but otherwise was efficient while pitching four innings for Pittsburgh.
White Sox 9, Mariners 8
At Tucson, Ariz., Jim Thome and Paul Konerko hit consecutive home runs off new Seattle ace Erik Bedard.
Royals 15, Giants 6
At Surprise, Ariz., Hideo Nomo got a spring training win in his quest to earn a job with Kansas City, and San Francisco's Barry Zito was hit hard again. Nomo has a 2.25 ERA in three starts. Zito is 0-3 with a 17.18 ERA.