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07/07/09 11:10 PM ET
No timetable set for Unit's return
Giants lefty dealing with strained throwing shoulder
By Chris Haft / MLB.com
SAN FRANCISCO -- Randy Johnson suggested Tuesday that assigning any timetable for his recovery from a strained throwing shoulder would be an educated guess, at best, given the numerous physical uncertainties involved. "What I've learned in this business, having [had] four knee surgeries and three back surgeries, is you want to have a time frame and a doctor can't give you one," Johnson said in his first public remarks since being injured Sunday. "Because there's intangibles that come into play, when you're talking about the body healing. I'm letting my shoulder heal and I think nobody would like it to heal faster than I, but you have to kind of let it run its course." Johnson, who said that he also has some inflammation in his shoulder, noted that he's "in uncharted waters" due to having avoided arm injuries during his 22-year career. Hence, he mentioned three possible recovery periods -- two to three weeks, four to six weeks and six to eight weeks -- without committing to any of them. Naturally, Johnson prefers the shortest one, which manager Bruce Bochy cited as his fondest hope Monday. "That would be my hope, too," Johnson said. "We'll see what happens in two or three weeks. I'll get re-evaluated and see where my strength is." As Bochy related, Johnson said that he initially felt discomfort while taking batting practice late last week, prompting him to cancel his between-starts throwing session. Then came Sunday's game against Houston and his pain-inducing swing in the third inning. "It was a little more significant than when it happened in BP," Johnson said. The left-hander's competitive nature drove him to begin the fourth inning, but as he said, "My velocity dropped dramatically and I was throwing batting practice out there, based on the results." His throwing error that allowed a run to score made him feel "like I was doing a disservice." When athletic trainer Dave Groeschner escorted him from the mound, Johnson said, it marked the first time in his career that he had removed himself from a game. Johnson believed that pitching the fourth after taking his painful swing didn't worsen his injury. "I would put things this way: Maybe I wish I didn't swing at the curveball, because I think that's where it started," Johnson said. "Whatever happened in there happened because of the swing probably more than going out there pitching." Johnson said that the jammed shoulder that occurred on a fielding play while recording his 300th victory on June 4 didn't hasten this injury. This was proven, he explained, by comparisons of an MRI he underwent at that time with the one he had Monday.
Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.