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Notebook: Diamondbacks place Big Unit on 15-day disabled list

| Tuesday, April 22, 2003

PHOENIX -- The Arizona Diamondbacks placed Randy Johnson on the 15-day disabled list with a sprained right knee Monday and hope he'll be able to return to the rotation Sunday.

Johnson has been experiencing inflammation and swelling in his right knee since his last start April 11. He was initially scheduled to return last Wednesday.

Johnson was scratched from last Wednesday's start, however, and the team later determined after a weekend throwing session that he would not be able to start as scheduled Tuesday at Montreal. The move is retroactive to April 12.

"While yesterday's session showed us some encouraging signs, after consulting with our training staff, I felt it was in ours and Randy's best interest to give the knee a few more days of rest," manager Bob Brenly said. "If he continues to show improvement as he did over the last few days, we'll set our sights on him making the start on Sunday in New York.

"As always, we're going to err on the side of caution, because this is still a very long season, and we want Randy there for the long haul."

The Diamondbacks (7-12) are tied with San Diego for last place in the NL West, getting very little production from aces Johnson and Curt Schilling. The two combined for 47 wins last season but have only one so far in 2003.

Johnson, who has won the last four NL Cy Young awards, is 0-2 with an 8.31 ERA in three starts. The 39-year-old left-hander first experienced soreness in the knee after the April 11 start against Milwaukee, when he gave up 10 earned runs in 42/3 innings -- one of the worst outings in his career.

Schilling is 1-2 with a 4.28 ERA in four starts. He underwent an appendectomy Saturday, but might miss only one start.

This is Johnson's first stint on the disabled list since the end of the 1996 season, when he was with the Seattle Mariners.

YANKEES ON THE MEND

New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter has started catching the ball during throwing sessions as he increases the onfield part of his rehabilitation program for a dislocated left shoulder.

Jeter caught and make 70 throws -- including long toss. He also fielded around 100 easy grounders while positioned on the grass in front of the infield dirt.

Meanwhile, closer Mariano Rivera allowed one hit during a scoreless inning in an extended spring training game.

It was the first game action for Rivera since spring training. He started the season on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right groin after getting hurt on his final pitch during a game March 24.

Also, reliever Steve Karsay will have his injured right shoulder examined today after cutting short a bullpen session during his rehabilitation. Karsay has been on the disabled list since experiencing discomfort in spring training.

AROUND THE HORN

Angels outfielder Darin Erstad underwent an MRI on an inflamed tendon in his lower right hamstring. ... The Yankees designated outfielder Chris Latham for assignment and purchased the contract of Charles Gipson from Triple-A Columbus. ... A Chicago politician proposed an ordinance that would increase the penalty for fans who go on the playing field during a sporting event, in response to last week's attack on an umpire at a White Sox game. Alderman James Balcer proposed raising the fine from $100 to $1,000 for running onto the field during a pro sports game. ... Cleveland Indians right-hander Jason Bere threw off the mound after resting his strained rotator cuff for two weeks.

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