Johnson to pitch in Minor League game

Johnson to pitch in Minor League game

TUCSON, Ariz. -- Randy Johnson will start Wednesday in a Minor League game over at the team's Kino Sports Complex.

Johnson, who has made three Cactus League appearances this spring, will see action in a Minor League game for two reasons. First and foremost, by not appearing in a game in which admission is charged, the team will be able to backdate any disabled-list placement the full nine days allowed by the rules.

Secondly, it keeps the division-rival Rockies from getting another look at him. Johnson's first outing of the spring came against the Rockies on March 10.

Johnson will not start the year with the D-backs, but the club is hoping he will not miss much time. So far, he has not experienced any setbacks as he tries to return from his second back surgery in as many years.

Brandon Webb will start the season opener in Cincinnati, with Dan Haren and Doug Davis getting the nod in the next two games. Arizona manager Bob Melvin has not announced who will pitch in the fourth and fifth spots yet, though presumably it will be Micah Owings and Edgar Gonzalez.

"It will be a little clearer picture about how our rotation is going to set up going into the season after his game," Melvin said, referring to Johnson's start.

Owings came into camp as the No. 5 starter and Gonzalez is the likely replacement for Johnson in the rotation.

When asked if he was ruling Johnson out for the season-opening six-game road trip, Melvin said, "Getting pretty close to ruling it out."

Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.