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Monday, April 16, 2007
Johnson wants another rehab start to test back

Associated Press

PHOENIX -- Randy Johnson plans to make one more minor league start before joining the Arizona Diamondbacks' rotation.

Randy Johnson
Johnson

The Big Unit, returning from offseason back surgery, will pitch for Triple-A Tucson on Thursday night. If all goes well, Johnson could pitch for the Diamondbacks against San Diego on April 24.

"I didn't feel I was ready," Johnson said. "I'm coming off back surgery. I didn't have a regular spring training, absolutely. I'm feeling good about everything, and I want to have one more productive start and know that it's my last start."

Arizona had thought Johnson's start at Tucson on Friday night would be his last tuneup. But Melvin said the club and the pitcher agreed he needed more time.

"He's at 20, 21 innings, which is a short spring, especially for a guy that's coming off back surgery," manager Bob Melvin said. "At some point in time, you go through that dead-arm period, and we feel like he's a little bit there right now."

Arizona reacquired the 43-year-old left-hander in January after he spent two frustrating seasons with the New York Yankees. Johnson won four of his five Cy Young Awards during his first stint with the Diamondbacks, from 1999-2004.

Also Monday, the Diamondbacks activated outfielder Carlos Quentin from the 15-day disabled list.

Quentin, who had been out with a shoulder injury, batted fifth and played right field against the Los Angeles Dodgers. His return prompted a shuffle in the outfield, with Eric Byrnes moving to left and Scott Hairston going to the bench.

To make room for Quentin, the Diamondbacks optioned infielder Brian Barden to Tucson. Barden was 1-for-10 in his first seven major league games this season.