Tuesday, December 8, 2009
Johnson could decide on future soon
SAN FRANCISCO -- Randy Johnson is still weighing his decision about whether to pitch again in 2010 or retire after 22 major league seasons.
Agent Alan Nero, speaking from the winter meetings in Indianapolis, said he expects to know in the coming weeks whether the 46-year-old Johnson will return for another year.
"It depends whether he still has the fire and whether he wants to compete and how he feels," Nero said in a phone interview. "He's enjoying his family. In the past he was always so motivated to get back out there. Now, it gets to a point he's going to make some decisions, and I can't speak for him."
While the Big Unit has been happy to have some time at home with his family in Arizona, he plans to begin working out again soon, Nero said.
On June 4 at Washington, Johnson became the 24th pitcher in major league history to win 300 games, doing so in his first season for the San Francisco Giants.
But the five-time Cy Young Award winner later missed more than two months with a strained left shoulder that also had a tear in the rotator cuff. He returned in late September as a reliever.
Johnson has said part of his decision could be based on whether he believes he can be durable enough to be a starter again. As he was working his way back, he acknowledged that pitching more than five innings and being effective would be tough at this stage -- but now his shoulder has had significant time to heal.
And it's a bit frightening to think what he could do when called from the bullpen to face just one or two hitters in a key situation.
"He's going to crank it up in a few weeks. He's going to start working out and training again," Nero said. "A lot will depend on how he feels. Right now no decision's been made. He ended the season pitching and he was OK. At the moment, everything is status quo."
Johnson went 8-6 with a 4.88 ERA in 17 starts and 22 total appearances in 2009. He filed for free agency last month, leaving open the possibility of pitching again.
Johnson came out of a game July 5 against the Houston Astros with the injury, the first serious shoulder problem during his career. He felt something in his arm on a swing during that start but initially tried to pitch through it. He then left the game after committing a throwing error in the top of the fourth.
He was on the disabled list from July 6-Sept. 16. It marked the 10th DL stint of Johnson's career. He has had four knee operations and three back surgeries and worked his way back.
The 6-foot-10 Johnson has a career record of 303-166 with 4,875 strikeouts in 4,135 1/3 innings with Montreal, Seattle, Houston, Arizona, the New York Yankees and San Francisco. His strikeouts are the most by a left-hander and second to Nolan Ryan's record 5,714.
"He's doing what most players do at this point, enjoying the holidays," Nero said. "He'll make a decision when it's appropriate."