TUCSON, Ariz. -- It will take a little while before Jeff DaVanon is 100 percent, but in his throwing sessions so far this spring, one difference is apparent to him: a lack of pain. "It's the first time I've thrown without pain in a couple of years," said the D-backs outfielder, who had surgeries on his rotator cuff and ankle toward the latter part of the 2006 season. "It's a nice feeling." DaVanon has been hitting off a tee for a month now and took live batting practice in the cage for the first time on Saturday.
"It was more like flailing," he joked. So far, he's experienced no setbacks with either the shoulder or ankle and is only expected to be about a week behind the rest of the position players when Cactus League games start. "I leave that up to the trainers," DaVanon said, referring to Ken Crenshaw and Dave Edwards. "They kind of progress me, and I just say yes. Because Ken did such a good job keeping [the shoulder] healthy last year, I have so much faith in Ken that I just follow what he says." Getting better: Doug Davis played catch on Sunday and said that his back felt much better than it did on Saturday, when tightness forced him to scrap his bullpen session. "If I progress as much from today to tomorrow that I did from yesterday to today, I can probably throw off the mound tomorrow," he said. "It's much better." Big Unit update: Recovering from offseason back surgery, Randy Johnson played catch again on Sunday and continues to progress toward throwing his first bullpen session. "He threw the ball free and easy, great arm slot, ball was traveling," D-backs manager Bob Melvin said. Though both Johnson and Melvin have said Johnson could probably throw off a mound right now, the team wants to make sure it doesn't rush him and cause a setback. "We need him for the whole season," Melvin said.
Deboned: First baseman Chris Carter had offseason surgery to remove the hamate bone in his right hand.He's not the first D-backs first baseman to have the procedure done. Erubiel Durazo had his removed after being hit with a pitch during a prior Spring Training. Greetings: On Sunday, outfielder Justin Upton showed up at camp well in advance of the position players' report date in part to escape the cold weather in Virginia. "I had to get out of there," he said. "It was cold. I've been hitting inside, but I needed to get out." This is Upton's second big-league camp. The No.1 overall pick in the 2005 First-Year Player Draft switched from shortstop to center field toward the end of Spring Training last year and wound up hitting .263 with 12 homers and 66 RBIs for Class A South Bend. Slight delay: GM Josh Byrnes said that outfielder Alex Romero will likely be late in reporting this week due to a visa issue. "We hope it's just a couple of days," Byrnes said. I see you: Micah Owings once again impressed Melvin during his bullpen session on Sunday as did young pitchers Greg Smith, Evan MacLane and Jailen Peguero. "Peguero, what a quick arm he's got," Melvin said. "He's kind of deliberate and then, boom, [the ball is] on you. A guy like that that creates a little deception. If it's 94 mph on the gun, it's playing better than that. He's impressed us both days."
Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.