ST. LOUIS - Flying by the seat of their pants already, the Diamondbacks saw their pitching plans further muddled Saturday when Curt Schilling underwent an appendectomy.
Schilling, who threw a complete-game victory Thursday against Colorado, will miss at least his next start, which would have been Wednesday at Montreal.
He complained of pain Friday and underwent some tests. When he had more discomfort Saturday, he was admitted to Barnes-Jewish Hospital.
D-Backs spokesman Mike Swanson said the procedure was classified as “routine.” Schilling will probably be discharged today and is expected to return to the Valley no later than Wednesday. He will not rejoin the team on the current trip.
With ace Randy Johnson set to test his right knee in a bullpen session today — the Diamondbacks are “cautiously optimistic,” as manager Bob Brenly put it, that Johnson can make his start Tuesday at Montreal — the rotation is in flux.
To adjust to the loss of Schilling, the D-Backs will use Monday's off day to move their starters up a day. So Elmer Dessens and Byung-Hyun Kim follow Johnson in Montreal, with Miguel Batista — starting today on short rest — coming back Friday at New York.
John Patterson could take Saturday's start, since he is eligible to be recalled from the minors that day.
The D-Backs should know by the end of the week how long Schilling will need to recuperate. If he can start May 1, the team would need only one fill-in start by Patterson or someone else (assuming Batista remains in the rotation).
If the team wants to put off Schilling's return, it can put him on the disabled list retroactive to Friday, making him eligible to return May 3.
STATE OF UNIT
Johnson, who missed his last start with inflammation in his right knee, played long toss briefly Saturday with no problems. He usually does his between-starts side session on flat ground but will work off a mound today to test the knee.
“It felt fine,” Johnson said. “The only thing I'm apprehensive about is the strength of my leg. The swelling has gone down.”
Matt Williams, 1-for-20 in his past six games and down to .200 for the season, is not as aggressive as usual at the plate.
Williams is averaging 3.76 pitches per plate appearance this season, as opposed to his previous career mark of 3.39. (In his big 1999 season, he saw just 3.07 pitches per plate appearance).
“I don't know if I've ever seen Matt Williams take a fastball down the middle for strike three in my life,” Brenly said. “I've seen him do it twice this year. Usually when a guy does that, he's thinking too much at the plate.
“He's usually a very aggressive hitter. The good thing is it seems like he puts together enough good at-bats that I don't think he's that far away.”
David Dellucci started in right field Saturday for the third straight game in place of Danny Bautista, who suffered a strained right hip flexor on Wednesday.
“With a right-hander going (for St. Louis), David's been swinging the bat pretty well,” Brenly said. “Another day wouldn't hurt Danny. So we're going to go ahead and give him that day.”
Junior Spivey had a double and a single Saturday. With his first multi-hit game since April 1, Spivey raised his average from .133 to .167.