TUCSON - Randy Johnson returned to the mound Thursday in his first batting practice session of the spring. Johnson threw 30 pitches in batting practice and another 23 in the bullpen, facing minor league outfielders Chris Rahl and Trent Oeltjen.
"That was exciting, to face the best left-handed pitcher ever," said Oeltjen, a native of Australia who is likely to start the season at Triple-A Tucson.
"We're looking for health each time," manager Bob Melvin said.
"Knock wood, it's been good every time out. He hasn't been uncomfortable. He had a little bit of a dead-arm day, which all pitchers do, but he was back out there free and easy."
Johnson's next session is likely to be another batting practice, in either three or four days, Melvin said, after which he could be scheduled into a game.
While Johnson appears to be behind the other starting pitchers, Melvin said, "I can't comment on that. I really don't know."
Johnson threw fastballs and his split-finger pitch, which he uses as a change-up, and reported no health issues.
"I don't think there's anything to discuss until I start getting in a game," Johnson said. "I'm not going to push it or anything by throwing batting practice. What I got out of it was, I extended a pitch count and saw a hitter in a batter's box. I'll do that again, and after that see where we go from there."
Tony Peña arrived in D-Backs camp Thursday, 13 days after the pitchers reported, and plans to take steps to prevent similar visa problems in the future.
"When we go to Washington, D.C., maybe I'll go to say something to somebody at the Dominican Republic embassy," Peña said.
Peña has been held up by visa issues ever since he was discovered to have used a relative's name in 2005.
The D-Backs expect to have Peña throw two bullpen sessions in camp before getting him into a game, but foresee no difficulty in getting him prepared for the regular season, where he will be used as a setup man after Brandon Lyon was chosen the closer.
"The told me Lyon would have the first chance," said Peña, who was told in January that Lyon would have the job Peña admitted he also covets.
"I like it because it is one inning, and you can prepare yourself for that," Peña said.
Exercising his seniority rights, newcomer Dan Haren claimed uniform No. 15 from Jeff Salazar, who will wear No. 12 this season. Salazar did not ask for compensation, his right, but Haren surprised him last week by buying him a $2,000 tailored suit. "I didn't ask for anything. He insisted. I thought it was pretty cool," Salazar said. ...
With Tony Clark gone, Conor Jackson will wear No. 34 this season instead of the No. 16 he had worn since joining the D-Backs in August 2005. Jackson said he wore No. 34 all through high school, college and the minor leagues. "It's always been my number, and I jumped at the opportunity to get it," he said. ...
Left-hander Doug Slaten had the flu and was sent home Thursday. Shortstop Stephen Drew (wisdom teeth) did not play Thursday and is "fifty-fifty" to play today, Melvin said. ...
Catcher Miguel Montero's broken right index finger swelled after he swung a bat Wednesday, and he has not been cleared to begin batting practice. "We still have enough time to get him ready" for the regular season, Melvin said. ...
The D-Backs and Colorado agreed to use a DH Thursday, preventing Micah Owings from a time at-bat, although Owings did hit three balls over the center field back-drop in pregame batting practice. "I don't know if that was anger at not being able to hit today, but he took it out on me," said Melvin, who threw batting practice to Owings' group.