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M’S Ace Can’t Beat Back Woes

Thu., May 30, 1996, midnight

It’s been more than two weeks since the Seattle Mariners’ left-handed ace Randy Johnson was placed on the disabled list with a bulging disk in his back, and he’s showing no signs of improvement.

“The doctors are baffled, and I’m frustrated,” Johnson told The Seattle Times.

“I’m trying to stay optimistic, but I’m frustrated. I’d love to try to pitch with it, but I can’t. If I walk 100 yards to leave the Kingdome, I’m limping.”

His absence has not been good for the Mariners, who allowed six home runs in their 12-8 loss to Baltimore on Tuesday. The Orioles scored all of their runs on homers.

The initial prognosis was that Johnson would be off the job for two or three weeks. Now, no one knows.

“I’m frustrated, too,” said team physician Larry Pedegana.

“We’ve had him see four different doctors and take every test that applies to this condition. There is no significant improvement.”

Johnson passed a circulation test this week. Tests last week showed no signs of nerve damage.

Still, Johnson has persistent pain down his right leg.

“My back is fine. It’s my leg that’s the trouble,” Johnson said. “I have a bulging disk, but I don’t have all the symptoms of a bulging disk.”

The doctors have told Johnson it’s a mystery.

“It’s puzzling,” Pedegana said. “It still looks like an irritated nerve, and we’ve tested for every kind of other bizarre possibility and Randy’s come through clean. But the nerve isn’t quieting down.

“Everyone wants this resolved. I know how (much) Randy does … and so do I.”

Coming up

Seattle opens a four-game series against Boston with a 7:05 game tonight, televised on Prime Sports. Tom Gordon (4-2, 6.58) will pitch for the Red Sox, and Salomon Torres (0-0, 0.00) will make his first bigleague start of the season for the Mariners.

Mariners notes

The 2-1/2 days Jay Buhner took off eased the pain in his knee and though it’s still tender he hopes not to have to miss another game to injury… . Oh, Edgar! Martinez is on pace to hit 88 doubles this season, which would shatter Earl Webb’s major league record of 67.

Tags: baseball

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