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Big Unit taking steps

Simulated game has Randy Johnson talking activation.  (Associated Press / The Spokesman-Review)
Simulated game has Randy Johnson talking activation. (Associated Press / The Spokesman-Review)
Associated Press

Randy Johnson was encouraged with his performance in a simulated game Monday and hopes to return to pitch out of the bullpen for the San Francisco Giants during the stretch run.

The 45-year-old Johnson threw 53 pitches, including warmups, before the Giants played Colorado. He was on the mound at San Francisco’s AT&T Park for the first time since injuring his left shoulder more than two months ago.

“It’s another step toward, hopefully, being activated,” the five-time Cy Young Award winner said. “I have been throwing for 21/2 weeks now and the only difference today was there were hitters. Overall I felt pretty good and I threw well. We’ll see how I feel (today) and make a game plan.”

Giants manager Bruce Bochy was encouraged by the outing but did not commit to a timetable for Johnson.

Bochy said it was unlikely Johnson would be activated for the Rockies series.

Johnson last pitched July 5, when he came out of a game against the Houston Astros because of a left shoulder strain, an injury that was later called a torn rotator cuff.

The Big Unit said if the past two weeks were any indication, he would feel fine today and would like to take the ball in a game – as a reliever.

“This was encouraging and I feel like I’m ready to go,” Johnson said.

“The first step is to get activated and the second step would be to see when I pitch next.”

Worker hit in eye at Comerica Park

A worker at Comerica Park has been hit in the eye by a ball during batting practice before the Detroit Tigers’ game against the Toronto Blue Jays.

The Tigers say the man has been taken to a hospital, where tests show vision in both of his eyes is normal. The club declined to identify the employee.

Clearing the bases

The Cleveland Indians have placed center fielder Grady Sizemore and right-handed reliever Joe Smith (sprained knee) on the 15-day disabled list. Sizemore is scheduled for lower abdominal surgery Wednesday. … The New York Yankees have brought up outfielder Freddy Guzman from the minor leagues to give him an audition as a possible pinch runner on their postseason roster. … Detroit Tigers manager Jim Leyland said Magglio Ordonez will reach the plate appearance incentive in his contract that will give the outfielder an $18 million option for next season.

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