TUCSON - The 11,765 fans that likely witnessed the Sidewinders’ last season opener Thursday also witnessed Randy Johnson start and the team score a whopping seven runs in the first inning.
In an otherwise entertaining night, perhaps the only person who left Tucson Electric Park unamused was the Big Unit himself.
He will be back Tuesday, however.
Johnson, 44, still recovering from offseason back surgery, allowed five runs on eight hits in four innings. He struck out one, walked two and dodged trouble in his first three innings. The Sidewinders beat the Colorado Springs Sky Sox 12-10.
“It’s frustrating because I put in a lot of time and effort this whole offseason into being ready,” Johnson said. “The biggest reward is when you can go and get the results that you want and feel confident and feel like you’re making progress.”
That did not happen Thursday. Johnson, who threw 53 of his 78 pitches for strikes, said he felt like he was “regressing” since allowing one hit in three innings against the Angels on March 15. He said the Sky Sox had the same approach as most minor league teams.
“I know a lot of people go, ‘You should be getting them out,’ ” he said. “That’s not the way it works. Major league hitters aren’t nearly as aggressive. They’re a lot easier to set up.”
Johnson will pitch Tuesday against Salt Lake at TEP.