Randy Johnson, on still wanting to return to the Giants this season as a reliever despite the 46-year-old’s torn rotator cuff and the team’s 4.5-game Wild Card deficit:
I felt I owed it to everybody in this clubhouse to come back. I owed it to the ownership, and I owed it to myself. It would be easy at age 46 to say, “OK, well, I’ve got a torn rotator cuff. I’m not coming back.” But I didn’t do that when I had any of my knee surgeries or back surgeries. Why should it be different now?
After 21 years of coming back from things, I don’t want my last memory to be walking off with a trainer. If I blow it out, I blow it out. I’m getting paid to do a job, to help these guys in whatever way I can. Will one inning help? I don’t know, but hopefully there’s time to find out.
Johnson was a reasonably effective starter before the injury, going 8-6 with a 4.81 ERA and 80/31 K/BB ratio in 91.2 innings, so if the Giants can find a way to stay in the Wild Card race for another couple weeks it certainly wouldn’t be shocking to see the 303-game winner have some success as a situation left-hander out of the bullpen.
His comment about not wanting his “last memory to be walking off with a trainer” and his willingness to “blow it out” during the final weeks of this season certainly suggest that Johnson isn’t planning to pitch in 2010. That’s a shame, because beyond his various injury problems Johnson has remained capable of getting big-league hitters out and it’s never fun to have one of the greatest players of all time call it a career. On the other hand, the Hall of Fame class of 2015 will be better for it.