Randy Johnson — coming off his worst three-game stretch in nearly 10 years — had an MRI on Saturday to examine his stiff right knee, but no major problem was discovered and he is still scheduled to start Wednesday against Colorado.
“We just noticed a little puffiness in the knee and just wanted to make sure,” team physician Michael Lee said.
Johnson complained of soreness after his outing Friday, when he allowed 10 runs in 4 2/3 innings against the Milwaukee Brewers, and had some swelling in the knee.
The MRI found inflammation in the lining of the joint. Johnson will play long toss today and be treated with ice, compression and anti-inflammatory medication.
“There was nothing that we're concerned about,” Lee said. “He shouldn't miss any time.”
Johnson had arthroscopic surgery on the same knee in 1993, according to Lee, and wears a protective sleeve when he pitches.
Johnson is 0-2 with an 8.31 ERA — his first three-start winless streak with an ERA that high since July 1993, when he was 0-1 with a 10.80 ERA over three games. His season ERA has not been this high since it was 9.26 after his second start in 1998.
His 17 innings pitched are his fewest over three starts since May 2001, in his three games after throwing 146 pitches against Philadelphia. His 19 strikeouts match his fewest over three games since joining Arizona.
Johnson talked at the end of spring training about not having his fastball, and he still has yet to reach his usual velocity. Johnson is one of the few pitchers who can feel he is 2-3 mph off when still topping out at 97 mph, as the team said he did Friday.
“It's not quite where I want it to be, obviously,” Johnson said Saturday. “I'm hoping that it comes around here pretty quick.
“It's not just that. My slider hasn't been as sharp as I'd like it to be. We'll work things out. I'm going through a little adversity right now. I'm not shocked or worried.”
In Elmer Dessens’ two starts, the D-Backs have scored two runs while he was in the game — both in the seventh inning Tuesday, the inning he was pinch-hit for in Los Angeles. Scheduled to start today, Dessens has yet to take the mound with a lead.
This comes after he went 7-8 last season despite a 3.03 ERA that ranked sixth in the National League, thanks to poor run support and bullpen work behind him.
“It's going to change,” said Dessens, who has a 5.73 ERA this year.
“His command hasn't been quite as sharp as he needs it to be,“ manager Bob Brenly said. “He proved all spring and he proved last year how effective he can be when he keeps the ball down, but he's gotten a few pitches up and they've hurt him.”
Brenly said catcher Rod Barajas (left hamstring strain) may not come off the disabled list when first eligible April 22 but could be activated within a week after that.
“Given the demands of his position, we've got to make sure that he's at 100 percent — not close to 100 percent, but at 100 percent — before we activate him,” Brenly said. “It's definitely possible on the road trip (that ends April 27) he could be activated.”
Agent Oscar Suarez said heart surgery on Armando Reynoso's 6-month-old son, Juan Diego, went well. The operation was performed April 4 to repair a hole in the baby's heart and he may be released by today, Suarez said. Reynoso, a right-hander who pitched for Arizona the past four seasons, opted to step away from the game at the end of spring training to take care of his son.
“He just wants to get his son to the point where he's stable,” Suarez said. “Right now his family is more important to him (than pitching again).”