|Big Unit could be close to return|
|Written by Admin|
|Monday, 25 June 2007 13:11|
Johnson, on the disabled list since June 11, threw 41 pitches over two innings to teammates Jeff DaVanon and Augie Ojeda before the Diamondbacks played the Los Angeles Dodgers.
``I'm pretty encouraged by what I saw today,'' manager Bob Melvin said. ``I was surprised at how well he threw. Everything was there - sharp slider, and he threw really well.''
Melvin wouldn't commit to a date for Johnson's return until he sees how the back responds Tuesday. If Johnson feels good, he could start against the Dodgers in the finale of their four-game series Thursday and bump struggling right-hander Livan Hernandez.
Johnson did not speak with reporters after the session.
``He worked both sides of the plate,'' DaVanon said. ``He just basically looked like where he left off. His location was strong.''
The 43-year-old lefty had back surgery in October and started the season on the disabled list. Johnson is 4-2 with a 3.52 ERA.