Big Unit Out God-Knows-How-Long

Shoulder injury sidelines Livermore-native

Randy Johnson's strained left shoulder is turning into kind of a bigger deal than expected. Johnson is currently on the 15-day disabled list, but his remarks late Tuesday night indicate he could be out a whole lot longer than that.

I knew something terrible was going to happen Sunday the moment I saw them take the field in those @%#*?! red baseball caps.

Johnson strained the shoulder swinging at a low-and-outside Roy Oswalt pitch in the third inning of Sunday's 7-1 loss to the Astros. He knew it was bad when he committed a wild throwing error the following inning, and immediately removed himself from the game.

"What I've learned in this business, having four knee surgeries and three back surgeries, is you want to have a time frame and a doctor can't give you one," Johnson told "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."

Say this much for Randy Johnson -- this incident proves he wasn't content to just win his 300th game and then just blow off the rest of the season. His competitiveness and work ethic are on display with his frustration at this injury, even though he's already crossed the 300-win milestone. When Johnson committed the throwing error, he left the field muttering obscenities like he was Marion Barry leaving his mistress a voice mail.

The G's Unit estimated to the Merc's Andrew Baggarly that he could miss four-to-six weeks, or six-to-eight weeks, or longer. When the player in question is throwing out recovery times like that, then a mere 15 days on the DL seems obliviously optimistic.

The silver lining here is the outstanding pitching of Ryan Sadowski, who magically appeared as a potential innings-eater in the Giants' rotation right before Johnson was lost with the shoulder strain. Johnson's injury could have occurred at a worse time, e.g., when Sadowski was still in Fresno.

But the dark cloud here is still the main concern. The Giants just lost a starting pitcher with a winning record, indefinitely. That's never a good thing for a team fighting for a wild card spot. 

Joe Kukura is a freelance writer who wishes he has an mp3 of Randy Johnson muttering obscenities to make into his new ringtone.

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