WASHINGTON - Twelve days can be an eternity in baseball, when weather and injuries can ruin even the firmest schedule. However, if all goes well in Randy Johnson’s final two scheduled rehabilitation starts, he is likely to make his Diamondbacks’ 2007 debut against San Diego on April 19 at Petco Park, the D-Backs privately believe.
It would seem to be a good jumping-off point — Johnson is 14-3 with a 2.07 ERA in 22 career appearances against the Padres, with his only better winning percentage against the Cubs (12-0).
Johnson’s last rehab game is scheduled for April 13 at Tucson, which would make him available April 18, but Brandon Webb is tentatively scheduled to make his fourth start of the season that day, and the D-Backs may want to keep him on his normal four days’ rest.
“We want to wait for every single outing. Maybe after next time, if everything goes well, we’ll look to see what the plan is,” Melvin said.
Johnson threw a bullpen session at Chase Field on Friday, with director of player development and former major league catcher A.J. Hinch catching. Hinch worked with Mark Mulder, Tim Hudson and Kenny Rogers in his seven-year major league career.
Johnson is to start Sunday for Class A Visalia at Modesto before pitching the Sidewinders’ home opener, which could threaten attendance records at Tucson Electric Park.
Catcher Miguel Montero made his second start of the season, not so much because of his familiarity with starter Micah Owings from their half-season in Tucson last year, but to keep him fresh.
“He’s one of those guys who is used to playing every day. If you make them sit too long, then they kind of lose their edge at the plate,” Melvin said.
Montero had two hits in his first start Wednesday in Colorado and singled in the fifth inning Friday.
Leadoff man Stephen Drew (flu) was scratched about two hours before the game, with Alberto Callaspo taking over at shortstop for the second straight day. Drew missed Thursday with a groin issue.
Eric Byrnes moved into the No. 1 spot, with Callaspo hitting second and Conor Jackson dropping to fifth
The D-Backs — no surprise — have started five different batting orders in five games. Melvin had said during the spring that matchups and hot hands would play major roles in determining his lineup.
Catcher Chris Snyder was charged with two passed balls Thursday after having only six in all of 2006, but Melvin indicated Snyder likely was crossed up, expecting breaking pitches instead of the fastballs he got both times. …
Carlos Quentin (left labrum) took 25 to 30 swings in early batting practice and is expected to take regular batting practice with the team today, Melvin said. “I did some one-handed release,” Quentin said, alluding to swinging at about 80 percent to reduce the stress on his shoulder. “The ball came off (the bat) all right.” …
Scott Hairston started after leaving Thursday’s game in the first inning when he fouled a 2-2 pitch off the inside of his left knee. Robby Hammock entered the game and fouled off the first pitch he saw before flying to right. “It didn’t make 'Hammers’ at-bat that easy,” Melvin said.