LOS ANGELES — Arizona’s Randy Johnson, six wins shy of 300 career victories, was scratched from Sunday’s start against the Los Angeles Dodgers because of a sore left shoulder.
Johnson, who turns 45 on Wednesday, will be replaced by right-hander Max Scherzer.
Diamondbacks manager Bob Melvin said that Johnson will miss one turn, returning to the rotation next Saturday at home against Cincinnati.
“We talked earlier in the season that if we ever got in a position with Randy, whether it was his back or shoulder, we don’t want anything to linger if there is a little issue there where he has to overcompensate in some other areas,” Melvin said before Saturday’s game against the Dodgers.
“I don’t think it’s a long-term thing,” Melvin said. “But if we would have run him out there tomorrow not feeling great, it could linger for a while.”
Melvin said he made the decision after speaking with Johnson on Saturday, adding that Johnson did not ask to be pushed back.
“He knows how to pitch with some pain,” Melvin said. “(But) it felt like the best thing to do.”
Scherzer (0-2) will be making his fourth big league start in the finale of a three-game series between the NL West’s top teams. He’ll oppose 20-year-old left-hander Clayton Kershaw (3-5). The Diamondbacks held a half-game lead over the Dodgers entering Saturday’s game.
Johnson (10-9), winless in his last four starts, gave up four homers to match a career high in 3 2-3 innings in Arizona’s 8-6 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals on Monday.
“I felt it in my last start against St. Louis, but I pitched through it and the results were what they were,” Johnson said. “I played catch today and it felt a lot better than it did yesterday. I mean, yes, I could pitch. How effective remains to be seen.
“But there’s no sense in pushing it because I’m not in that situation. If tomorrow was a must-win game and they put their faith in me, then I would go out there and pitch. But that’s not the case right now.”
Scherzer, a first-round draft pick two years ago, has a 2.65 ERA in 12 appearances with the Diamondbacks. He has allowed 27 hits in 34 innings while walking 14 and striking out 34.
“I’ve been a starter the past couple months in the minors, so my routine right now is to be a starter,” Scherzer said. “So for me, it’s more of a comfort thing now and I can go back to my routine.”
Originally, Johnson was scheduled face 354-game winner Greg Maddux on Sunday, but Dodgers manager Joe Torre wanted Kershaw to pitch to neutralize Arizona’s left-handed bats.