Athletic careers are a fragile existence. Each time a player takes the field they run the risk that it might be the last time. And for future Hall of Famer Randy Johnson, his time may have come.
Fighting to return from a back injury, the Diamondbacks pitcher acknowledged that his career may be over.
"I think everybody in this clubhouse, maybe not the players but the coaching staff and front office, would like to know, and I would like to know, whether I'm going to be able to pitch and help this organization," he said. "If not, I think that I need to take care of things and they would need to take care of things."Players are constantly fighting injury, and as their careers wind down it's easy to see the struggle they face against their aging bodies. But what's so interesting here is that Johnson is so open about his thought process and mentality. At age 43, and having made three trips to the DL so far this season, it's clearly been a frustrating process for the Big Unit.
Johnson hasn't pitched since the end of June, and the layoff can really take a toll. He pitched in a simulated game before Tuesday's game, and even that wasn't easy.
He faced 12 batters, giving up two balls that probably would have been hits in a real game and one sequence that probably would have led to a walk.The Diamondbacks are treating Johnson with care and caution, as they should. And like the Astros did with their Craig Biggio situation, they're giving the pitcher the distance and respect that he deserves. After all, he did win four of his five Cy Young Awards with the team, and letd them to their only World Series victory. After a 20-year career, are we witnessing the last days of Johnson's career?
Between innings, Johnson looked tired, toweling his head, stretching to touch his toes and, at one point, pacing between the mound and second base with his hands on his hips.
"I'll cross whatever bridge I have to when the time comes," Johnson said. "Right now, I've thrown some pitches today. We'll see how I feel and go from there."It seems that no matter what the Diamondbacks and Johnson have some tough decisions ahead of them.