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09/19/09 10:07 PM ET
Big Unit returns to Giants in relief
Johnson faces three batters in first outing since July 5
By Chris Haft / MLB.com
LOS ANGELES -- The Dodger Stadium audience applauded respectfully when the public-address announcer introduced Randy Johnson as he entered Saturday's Giants-Dodgers game in the sixth inning. Then again, the sight of the 6-foot-10 left-hander making his familiar trip to the pitcher's mound probably sufficed as announcement enough. Making his first appearance since injuring his left (throwing) shoulder July 5, Johnson yielded doubles to the first two Dodgers he faced, Rafael Furcal and Andre Ethier, then coaxed Juan Pierre's flyout before leaving the game, which Los Angeles won, 12-1. Johnson threw just 14 pitches, but Giants manager Bruce Bochy said that he and the 303-game winner had mutually agreed upon a light workload upon his return.
"That was the game plan," Bochy said.The Giants have hoped that Johnson, 46, could deepen the bullpen during the season's final weeks as they hope to intensify their postseason push. Johnson, who wasn't available for comment after his brief outing, threw his fastball in the high 80-mph range, which approached the velocity he displayed before his injury. "I knew he'd be rusty," Bochy said. "I thought his stuff was fine. It was location [that hampered him] more than anything."
Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.