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Unit in midseason form


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FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Randy Johnson is ready for Opening Day. Now, he just has to wait another nine days to take the ball.

Johnson made his penultimate start of the spring on Friday, limiting the Twins to one run over 6 1/3 innings while striking out six. With one start remaining, Johnson looks to be in midseason form.

 

"I got my work in, went deep in the game, and felt like I was pretty comfortable with all of my pitches," said Johnson, who threw 88 pitches. "I feel like my last three starts have been good starts, so I've been able to build on those."

 

"He was really good," said manager Joe Torre. "He looked very smooth and had a good pace going."

 

Johnson's final start will come on Wednesday, most likely at the Yankees' Minor League complex instead of in Lakeland against the Tigers. Johnson will throw four or five innings in the game for a final tuneup, then do a bullpen session on Saturday in Arizona.

 

Johnson came to camp in February with the goal of throwing between 27-30 innings, compared to the 21 1/3 he threw last spring. He has 24 1/3 frames under his belt with one outing remaining, so he should have no trouble reaching that number.

 

Johnson has allowed eight earned runs on 24 hits, posting a 2.96 ERA. He has struck out 24 while walking just three, a good sign for the left-hander.

 

"For me, it's a progressional thing," he said. "If I wasn't getting better, then it might be something to worry about. My stamina is getting there, my location is much better and I'm throwing strikes. That's the bottom line."

 

"His stuff is as consistent as we've seen, time after time," Torre said.

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