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Johnson impresses D-backs

Associated Press The Spokesman-Review

Randy Johnson called it an audition. He nailed it.

The 44-year-old left-hander, who six months ago underwent his second back surgery in less than a year, threw off the mound Sunday. He pitched in front of manager Bob Melvin for the first time since his final, unsuccessful outing against the Los Angeles Dodgers last June.

Melvin was more than a little impressed.

“He came out throwing bullets the first pitch he threw,” the manager said. “As I’ve discussed before, the arm’s not the issue here. I haven’t talked to him since he finished, but I think he’s probably pretty pleased with the way it went.”

Johnson was satisfied with the outing, which he said went much the same as the three bullpen sessions he had before coming to Tucson.

“I’ll just do what I’m doing,” he said. “I continue to make progress. I’ll throw again on Thursday, take three days off and play catch and do all my workouts, and gradually get in to the other little things I’m not doing now. … The most important thing for me right now is to get on the mound.”

Johnson has undergone surgery to repair a herniated disc each of the past two seasons. Last year, he had only 3 1/2 months to recover before spring training and now believes he rushed back too soon.

He also had back surgery in 1996.

Gallardo to miss 4 weeks

Milwaukee Brewers starter Yovani Gallardo has torn cartilage in his left knee and is expected to miss the first four weeks of spring training.

Gallardo will return to Milwaukee today and have the arthroscopic procedure Tuesday.

He then will return to the Brewers’ camp to begin physical therapy.

Marlins new ballpark?

The Florida Marlins and two local governments have ironed out the financial details of a $515 million proposal that would give the team a new 37,000-seat ballpark on the site of the Orange Bowl.

The newest version of the stadium proposal requires that Miami-Dade County contribute $347 million in funding, including $297 million in tourist tax dollars, according to a memorandum from county manager George Burgess that was sent to county commissioners.

The 94-page document states that the city of Miami would be required to pay $13 million, which does not include an additional $10 million for the Orange Bowl’s demolition.

The Marlins would contribute $155 million for the stadium, which is projected to open in 2011.

City commissioners were scheduled to consider the proposal Thursday morning.

County commissioners were expected to discuss the plan later Thursday. Both bodies must vote on the deal for its funding to be approved.

Prior pain free

Mark Prior didn’t experience any pain in his surgically repaired right shoulder during his first spring training workout with the San Diego Padres.

Prior threw 31 pitches during Saturday’s workout.

Prior, an 18-game winner with the Chicago Cubs in 2003, hasn’t pitched in the major leagues since Aug. 10, 2006.

The right-hander had shoulder surgery last season and isn’t expected back until mid-May or possibly June.

“It felt good,” Prior said. “I felt pretty comfortable on the mound. I was able to focus more on some spots than mechanics and arm.”

Girardi meets with Boss

Joe Girardi was summoned upstairs for the first time.

The new manager of the New York Yankees met with owner George Steinbrenner, who hadn’t spoken with Girardi since the former catcher interviewed for the job last October.

Girardi was accompanied by spring training instructors Goose Gossage and Ron Guidry, coach Rob Thomson and general manager Brian Cashman.

“We were joking a little bit and we were laughing, so it was good,” Girardi said.

“He’s just encouraging us to do what we always do here. So, Mr. Steinbrenner was great.”

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