SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- After catching Randy Johnson's first bullpen session with the Giants on Monday, Bengie Molina's initial reaction was simple yet eloquent. "Amazing," Molina said.

Watching Johnson pitch is riveting and batting against the 6-foot-10 left-hander is frustrating (or even terrifying). But only a select few can truly sense the power of his pitching. Those individuals are his catchers, who literally have been on the receiving end of his remarkable deliveries.

The Giants are still learning about Johnson, who signed a one-year, $8 million deal with them in December. They can take some shortcuts in their education by listening to the men who have dealt with him most directly.

Following are pertinent comments from five of Johnson's catchers during his 21-year, 295-victory career: Scott Bradley, who played with him in Seattle from 1989-92; Dave Valle (Seattle, 1989-93); Dan Wilson (Seattle, 1994-98); Brad Ausmus (Houston 1998), and Damian Miller (Arizona, 1999-2002).

The story begins with Johnson, who utterly lacked control of his pitches at the outset of his career, arriving in Seattle from Montreal in a 1989 trade.

Bradley: I joke that I caught his first no-hitter and I caught a game when he might have walked 10 guys in 3 1/3 innings.

Valle: It was a rough day at the office for a catcher because of his wildness. He was throwing 100 mph and didn't have a good idea of where it was going. He was looking for that release point for his fastball and his slider -- "Mr. Snappy," as he called it.

Bradley: The biggest thing was command of his slider. When he made that a really legitimate pitch for him, he took off. When I had a chance to catch him, it wasn't consistent. He'd have it for a game or for short spurts. With a 6-foot-10 body, a slight variation is going to result in a significant change.

Wilson: His height is probably somewhat of an underrated part of his game. When he releases the ball, he's probably closer to home plate than any other pitcher in the big leagues.

Bradley: The first thing I recall with Randy [was] the reaction time of the hitters. That added so much deception to his pitches. The hitters weren't used to facing somebody that tall.

Valle: 1993, to me, was the year he turned the corner and became the most dominant pitcher in the game [Johnson finished 19-8 with 308 strikeouts that season]. Not only the most dominant but also the most feared.

Wilson: His fastball and slider were all he needed. It was just unbelievable.

Miller: He was a two-pitch pitcher and could dominate lineups without even blinking. Basically what [signs] I put down, he would throw. My job was easy. It was a fun time for me.

Bradley: Randy didn't want to be known just as the 6-foot-10 pitcher who threw hard. He wanted to have the same game plan as Greg Maddux.

Valle: Another thing I saw in him was the desire to go nine innings. Not every pitcher has this. In those days, you couldn't blame him because Seattle didn't have that good a bullpen. Half of Randy was better than 100 percent of most guys who might take over for him.

Bradley: You could see each day that goes by, closer to his start, he gets more zoned in and locked in.

Ausmus: He was very quiet four out of five days. On the fifth day, there was a palpable intensity, not only when he was on the mound but also in the dugout between innings -- an infectious intensity that forced everyone around him to play harder.

Valle: The thing I loved about catching him was every time he stepped on the mound, you had the sense that something really special could happen that particular night. That feeling permeated the entire clubhouse.

Wilson: You could tell very early on what kind of night he was going to have. He didn't have many bad nights, but if he got through the first and second innings pretty easily, you knew he would get through the rest of the game as well. ... You'd get hitters after strikeouts who literally would tip their hats to him.

Miller: This was Randy in a nutshell: We were in Philadelphia, and in the second inning Ron Gant hit a home run off him on a pitch low and in. He put an end to that in a hurry. That really made him mad. The next time Gant came up, Randy struck him out on three straight fastballs and the last one was 102 mph.

Bradley: Probably the funniest incident involved George Brett. Randy struck out the first two hitters on three pitches, then Brett took the first pitch, a 95 mph fastball, right down the middle for a strike. He steps out and says to the umpire, "You've gotta be kidding me. I don't know how you can say it was right there. When it went by me it SOUNDED a little high."

Ausmus: The only game that stands out was the game that he lost (Johnson was 10-1 for Houston after being acquired from Seattle at the Trade Deadline in 1998). I think you'd be hard-pressed to find someone traded at the deadline who had that kind of impact. Maybe Manny Ramirez was the only comparison.

Miller: After his 20-strikeout game against the Reds, I went back to my locker and he already had the lineup card on my chair, signed "Randy Johnson." It was a pretty nice thing to do. I've got that one framed.

Valle: What advice would I give the Giants catchers? Be quick to listen and slow to speak. He knows what he wants to do out there. He knows what's working for him. What they need to do is learn about him and how he works.

Wilson: Protecting your thumb is going to be a good idea, because he can tear up some thumbs.

Bradley: Enjoy it. They're going to be catching one of the best pitchers of all time.