Shea Hillenbrand's return to the Diamondbacks' lineup has been delayed, as Hillenbrand will join relievers Matt Mantei and Bret Prinz on a rehabilitation assignment with Class AAA Tucson.

Hillenbrand was initially scheduled to be activated from the disabled list for Friday's game at Detroit, but the team adjusted the plan Wednesday.

“We think that it's in his best interest and in our best interest to see him face some live pitching first,” Diamondbacks manager Bob Brenly said. “We just didn't think it was fair to run him out there against live game pitching when all he's seen is soft toss and coaches’ (batting practice).”

Brenly said Hillenbrand will play at least two games for Tucson and probably no more than four, meaning he could be active with Arizona on Saturday, Sunday or Monday.

“It's good for me because Detroit is a horrible place,” Hillenbrand said. “It's nice to be able to go get some at-bats before getting thrown back in there.”

Hillenbrand has never played a Class AAA game; he jumped from Class AA in 2000 to the majors in 2001.

His rehab outing holds off what could be a tough decision on a roster move for the Diamondbacks.

Matt Kata was the most recent position player promoted from the minors; then again, Arizona is 6-1 when he starts at second base.

“As these guys start to trickle back off the disabled list,” Brenly said, “there's going to be guys sent to the minor leagues who have done nothing to deserve it. . . .

"With each guy coming back off the DL, we'll see how it all fits together best.”

INJURY REPORT -- Trainer Paul Lessard said ace Randy Johnson had no ill effects Wednesday from his mound session Tuesday.

“He didn't have any more swelling than he had (Tuesday),” Lessard said. “That's what we were worried about.”

Johnson is scheduled to throw off a mound again Friday; his tentative timetable calls for a return to the D-Backs on July 17.

Also:

-- Infielder Craig Counsell, working back from a torn thumb ligament, could take full batting practice by the weekend. He is eligible to come off the 60-day DL on July 6.

-- Reliever Mike Koplove, on the disabled list with right shoulder tendinitis, is scheduled to see specialist Craig Morgan in Philadelphia today and rejoin the team Friday. “I'm comfortable with him,” Koplove said.

“What we're doing isn't making significant progress, so maybe another mind will come up with something.”

RELIEVERS’ REHAB

Mantei said he was encouraged by his perfect inning (two strikeouts, 13 pitches) Tuesday for Tucson and expects to be activated Sunday after testing himself in back-to-back outings today and Friday.

“I think it's smarter to make sure I'm 100 percent going out there,” he said.

Prinz is scheduled to pitch for Tucson tonight, Sunday and next Wednesday before being re-evaluated.

SHORT HOPS

Arizona is 16-6 in June with four games left in the month. Winning all four would give the Diamondbacks their first 20-win month since August 1999 (20-8). . . . Luis Gonzalez has grounded into six double plays in the last 20 games. . . . Infielder Carlos Baerga had a root canal Wednesday morning and did not play in the game. . . . D-Backs players cast their All-Star ballots Wednesday. The first group of reserves this year will be chosen by a players’ vote.

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