Legendary pitcher Randy Johnson made his long overdue return to the Arizona Diamondbacks. Even though it was only a brief appearance in which he watched bullpen sessions, talked to players and met with reporters, many people were satisfied with the opportunity to see one of the game’s best.
Johnson retired in 2009 after his lone season with the San Francisco Giants. He wanted nothing more than to collect his 300th career win as a member of the Diamondbacks, but the team denied him a contract even after he offered to take a 50 percent salary cut. This is the most accurate reason the general public knows of why Johnson and Arizona did not talk for nearly four years, with the exception of when he made an appearance during the organization’s honoring of the 2001 World Series team in 2011.
However, it appears the wounds have mostly healed and the Big Unit is prepared to take the next step in his baseball adventure after spending the last few years vacationing with his family and honing his photography skills.
“For me, it was a matter of detoxing and kind of detaching a little bit,” he told USA Today. “I anticipate being around a little bit more over time.”
Johnson talked with former teammates and gave pointers to veteran starter Trevor Cahill and prospect Chase Anderson. It is clear that he has plenty of knowledge to spread around the clubhouse and it is evident that a position with the team is not outside the realm of reality.
“I’d like to think I have a little bit of wisdom from my times of playing,” Johnson said, according to USA Today. “It’s nice to be able to come out here. … I knew there would be a time and a place when I would finally get back into the baseball mode or at least come and watch something like this.”
Whether Johnson does indeed take an everyday role with the team or continues to show up at camp every now and then, it is obvious the players and coaches would love to see more of him.
It is good to know that whatever bad blood existed has now dried up between Johnson and the Diamondbacks so that the organization can now get on with properly honoring him in the not so distant future. Expect Arizona to retire his jersey around the same time the pitching great is inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in two years.