Notes: Unit won't hit the road
Citing back issues, club limits travel of veteran left-hander
PHOENIX -- Until further notice, Randy Johnson will not travel with the D-backs for a road series in which he's not pitching.
The decision was made by general manager Josh Byrnes and manager Bob Melvin, who do not want to subject the big left-hander's surgically repaired back to unnecessary plane flights.
"There's a lot of misinformation about what goes on with him," Melvin said in emphasizing that the decision was not made by Johnson. "Not one time has he come to me and said, 'I don't want to go on a trip.' Josh and I got together after Spring Training and said if we can keep this guy from traveling, here's a guy that just had back surgery in the offseason, if we can minimize his travel and keep him here on his workout program that he's done for years, then we're going to do it."
With that in mind, Melvin told Johnson not to accompany the team to Houston in May and New York earlier this month. He will not go to New York with the club next week and instead will go directly to Baltimore where he is scheduled to start Friday.
Team officials went out of their way to emphasize that Johnson's situation was not similar to the Yankees' Roger Clemens, who has in his contract the right to leave the team on days he doesn't pitch to be with his family.
Johnson has spent his time away from the team trying to strengthen his back, which still stiffens up on him after outings and long plane flights make things worse.
According to Melvin, he's had to talk Johnson into not taking certain trips.
"At times he's uncomfortable with it because he doesn't like what's written about it sometimes," Melvin said. "Because it's not true that this guy is on his own program and doesn't want to make trips with us. It's just not the case. So hopefully that puts it all to bed."
Tracy to return: Third baseman Chad Tracy, who has been on the disabled list with a strained rib cage, will likely be activated Sunday and be in the starting lineup.
"It's always nice to get another bat in the lineup," Melvin said. "I think it would be good to get him a game before we go on the trip.
"It's not going to be a pure rotation where we're getting guys in there just to get them in there," Melvin said of splitting playing time among the three. "But we have the options to match up a little better depending on who's pitching that day."
Move pending: Someone will have to be sent down to make room for Tracy, something the D-backs brain trust has talked a lot about recently. One thing they have ruled out is sending down a pitcher and reducing the staff from 12 to 11.
"It'll be a tough decision either way," Melvin said. "Very tough."
Welcome to the big leagues: Jailen Peguero was recalled from Triple-A Tucson on Friday and pitched a scoreless inning of relief. The right-hander has a fastball in the low 90s, but his best pitch is a hard-biting slider that gives right-handed hitters problems.
"To go out there and have a pretty seamless inning was impressive," Melvin said. "Had a big smile on his face when he came off. It was good that we were able to get him in a game like that where there wasn't too much pressure on him and have some success and carry that forward."
If Peguero is not used in long relief situations, look for him to be matched up against right-handed hitters where his slider should be doubly effective.
Stay sharp: Right-hander Edgar Gonzalez got a save Friday night. Not one in the stat book, but one that is certainly appreciated by his manager and teammates.
With starter Doug Davis out of the game after four innings, Melvin could have easily blown through his bullpen trying to finish out the game, but Gonzalez was able to give him four innings, even if he did allow five runs.
A starter for most of his career, it's been a challenge for Gonzalez to stay sharp in the bullpen, particularly when he goes 13 days without getting into a game like he did before Friday.
"He gave us what we needed, and that was to give the rest of the bullpen a break last night," Melvin said.
Up next: The D-backs finish up the three-game series with the Red Sox on Sunday with Johnson squaring off against Daisuke Matsuzaka. First pitch is scheduled for 1:40 p.m. MST.
Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.