10/04/07 3:45 AM ET
Big Unit suits up but sits through NLDS
Johnson says he plans to return to pitch for D-backs in 2008
By Steve Gilbert / MLB.com
Unfortunately for him and the D-backs, the big left-hander and future Hall of Famer was limited to walking out to the third-base line for the pregame introductions and catching the ceremonial first pitch from former D-backs managing general partner Jerry Colangelo.
Johnson, who underwent his second back surgery in nine months, also sat in for two innings on the club's radio broadcast.
"It's frustrating for me to not be able to help," Johnson told MLB.com. "But I'm very excited with what's happening for the organization and my teammates."
Johnson suffered a reherniation of the disc in his back that forced him to have surgery last October and he underwent another surgery Aug. 3.
"My focus coming out of my first surgery was to help us win, and then be a part of it," Johnson said. "Unfortunately, it didn't work out, but I'm rooting hard for them to win this year and I'm extremely motivated to come back and do my part next year. Hopefully, next year I'll be able to pitch a full season and then be a part of extra baseball once the regular season ends."
Johnson, who has 284 career wins, has already started working on his rehabilitation and plans on being ready when the D-backs report to Spring Training next year.
"I've been working out three days a week with Brett Fischer," Johnson said. "I've been doing that for two weeks. So the sitting, standing, twisting and bending over and all that kind of stuff is still at a minimum, but I feel a lot better.
"I saw my surgeon a couple of weeks ago. He gave me an MRI and he said everything was progressing nicely. We have lots of time on our side so I'm going to keep working at it and I should be ready."
Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.