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It's Offical, Randy Johnson is done for the Rest of 2007

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It's Offical, Randy Johnson is done for the Rest of 2007

Postby BigBossNass » Sun Jul 29, 2007 6:48 am

According to the offical DiamondBacks webpage:

PHOENIX -- Randy Johnson will have surgery to repair a herniated disk in his back next Friday and will miss the rest of the 2007 season, but plans on returning to the mound in time for Spring Training.
Johnson had a similar surgery performed last October and said at that time he was told there was a 5 percent chance that he could re-herniate the disk. That's what happened, as an MRI taken in June showed the reoccurrence.

The plan was for Johnson to try to pitch through the injury as he did when he won 17 games and compiled a 5.00 ERA for the Yankees in 2006. But after pitching against the Dodgers on June 28, it became clear that he would not be able to continue.

"I can deal with the pain, but the symptoms aren't allowing me to pitch," said Johnson, who lost strength in his legs as his outing against the Dodgers wore on.

Johnson threw a three-inning simulated game on Tuesday and felt good through the first two innings before noticeably tiring in the third. He was supposed to throw a bullpen session on Friday, but after a meeting with team officials earlier in the day he elected to have surgery.

"In the days leading up to today it didn't get any better," manager Bob Melvin said. "He didn't respond well enough and came to the decision today that he's just not getting any better so he's going to have surgery a week from today in Los Angeles."

Johnson said he'll have many questions when he meets with his surgeon, Robert Watkins, early next week. Chief among them is whether by having the surgery at the end of July rather than the end of August as he did last year will allow him to be ready at the start of Spring Training. This year he was forced to start the year on the DL as he recovered.

This will be the third time Johnson has undergone surgery on his back and with his legacy and first-ballot Hall of Fame status assured, he was asked why he would want to put himself through another grueling round of rehab. Retirement, though, was never something he considered.

"I'll cross the bridge of surgery right now and be willing to go through the process of rehabbing again because I know I can still pitch and I love pitching," said Johnson, who has 284 career victories. "It's been what I've been doing since I've been 7 years old and I still believe I can do it. I want to come back and pitch and pitch in front of the fans here and show that I can go out on a good note. I certainly don't want to end my career because I had surgery and I had to call it a career because of surgery. I'd much rather call it a career being healthy and being ineffective and saying, 'You know what? I can't do it anymore.' But that hasn't been the case."

Johnson's surgery will not have an effect on the D-backs as the trading deadline approaches, because it's a scenario that they already knew might play out.

The starting rotation, even with just 10 starts from Johnson, has been a strength for the D-backs. Arizona's starters lead the National League in innings pitched with 628 and rank fourth in ERA with a 4.08 mark. Johnson was 4-3 with a 3.81 ERA.

"We were hoping it was going to work out and obviously it didn't," right-hander Brandon Webb said. "Having him out is definitely going to hurt. Hopefully, we can fill his spot which we've done pretty much all year and be all right."

As soon as he's able, Johnson plans on returning to the ballpark and offering his teammates encouragement. When he came over in January in a trade with the Yankees, Johnson signed a two-year contract that runs through 2008 and pays him $26 million, with $2 million of that coming from the Yankees.

"The team is doing really good and I would have liked to have been a part of it," Johnson said. "But I'm looking at the big picture. Even in the little picture I wouldn't have been able to pitch that effective. The bigger picture is next year, but I'll be pulling for everybody this year."
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