Diamondbacks manager Bob Melvin on Saturday sat in a dugout at Chase Field, briefing reporters on Randy Johnson’s rehabilitation schedule when the Big Unit sauntered by.
“What are we talking about?” Johnson said, smiling.
Melvin informed the five-time Cy Young Award winner that he was the subject of conversation and invited him to join the group.
“Nah,” Johnson said. “Just post the information on the wall.”
Here is the information: Johnson (back) is scheduled for three minor-league appearances before making his D-Backs season debut, likely on April 18 or 19 at San Diego.
The tentative schedule has Johnson pitching on Tuesday in an Arizona minor-league intrasquad game in Tucson, on April 8 for Single-A Visalia at Modesto, and April 13 for Triple-A Tucson against Colorado Springs.
“Our minor-leaguers haven’t left for their seasons yet, so we’ll put together a game-time atmosphere (on Tuesday),” Melvin said.
“The plan all along was to have Randy in the middle of April, and we’re still on schedule.”
Johnson and outfielders Carlos Quentin (shoulder) and Jeff DaVanon (ankle) were placed on the 15-day disabled list on Saturday. Quentin was backdated to March 23 and could return on Saturday at Washington.
DaVanon said that he feels “about 75 percent,” and Quentin will rest for at least five more days before playing in a rehab game. Both players will be with the D-Backs during the season-opening series at Colorado.
“We’ll be careful with Quentin,” Melvin said.
“We don’t feel like he had a setback, but because he has had some pain, being cautious is important.”
DREW AT TOP
Melvin said that the lineup he used on Saturday was “not quite” the one he will fill out in Colorado, with one exception — shortstop Stephen Drew will bat in the leadoff spot.
The D-Backs’ coaches have been discussing the matter with Drew for about a week, stressing that he not change his plate approach.
“That’s something I don’t want to do,” said Drew, who was 3-for-4 with an RBI on Saturday. “All I want to do is get on base and let the big guys do their thing and drive me in. Hitting line drives to the gap and putting pressure on the other team, I think I can be that kind of leadoff guy.”
Arizona’s exhibition season ended with a bang, as infielder Justin Upton — the D-Backs’ most decorated prospect — belted a walk-off grand slam in the ninth inning for a 12-8 win against the Padres.
“That was wonderful,” Upton, 19, said. “I helped us win a game. The team goes on to Colorado, and the fans will forget about it. But when I come back, they’ve gotten a taste of what I hope to do here.”
Upton will likely start the season at Visalia.
“That was a nice look at the future, if not the future for us,” Melvin said.
“We keep moving the timetable up for this guy. He’s close to really taking off.”
WRAP IT UP
Melvin, when asked to evaluate the spring:
“There was fierce competition. I think we played at a high level and tried to create a winning atmosphere. We pushed and worked a little harder.
“We challenged guys and forced them to do different roles to get them out of their comfort zones. In that regard, it was a great camp.”