Now that Schilling is set to rejoin the starting rotation, his main concern is trying not to mess up the success Arizona has had without him.
“We can’t win much more than we’ve been winning,” said Schilling, who will start in the middle game of Arizona’s weekend series with the San Francisco Giants. “Me coming into the fold here, I don’t want to screw this up.”
Decimated by injuries, the Diamondbacks have been forced to rely on young, unproven players for much of the season. However, those same players have vaulted the Diamondbacks back into contention in the NL West.
Since Schilling’s right hand was broken by a line drive off the bat of Sean Burroughs in San Diego on May 30, the Diamondbacks are 26-12. They are five games behind the first-place Giants and one behind the Philadelphia Phillies in the wild-card race.
While Johnson is still out with a knee injury and will not return until after the All-Star break, Schilling hopes he can help Arizona continue its recent success.
“I’m ready. I feel good,” Schilling said. “I certainly feel a lot better than I have in the past couple of weeks. I’m looking forward to getting out in the field with a full house tomorrow.”
Diamondbacks manager Bob Brenly said he would take a cautious approach to monitoring Schilling’s workload.
“Basically, he’s at a point that’s equal to somewhere in the middle of spring training, so we’ll keep an eye on his pitch count,” Brenly said. “We’ll keep an eye on his effectiveness and his mechanics.
“I’m sure he’ll have a lot of adrenaline flowing tomorrow. We’ll let him go as long as he’s effective and as long as he’s mechanically sound out there.”
Though the Diamondbacks have been one of the hottest teams in baseball in recent weeks, Schilling will be trying to help them avoid their first three-game losing streak since May 15-17.
After losing 12-2 to San Diego on Thursday, the Diamondbacks fell 10-7 to the Giants in Friday’s series opener. They had won 18 of their previous 21.
Bonds’ homer was his seventh in the last eight games. He now has 642 in his career, 18 behind his godfather, Willie Mays, for third place on the all-time list.
The Giants have won seven of their last nine at Bank One Ballpark.
STANDINGS: Giants - 1st place, NL West. Diamondbacks - 2nd place, 5 GB, NL West.
GIANTS PROBABLE STARTER: Jerome Williams (4-1, 2.94 ERA). Williams has won four consecutive starts, allowing five earned runs in 30 1-3 innings. On Monday, he pitched a seven-hitter in a 5-1 win over the St. Louis Cardinals. The rookie right-hander has never faced the Diamondbacks.
DIAMONDBACKS PROBABLE STARTER: Schilling (4-3, 3.04 ERA). In 36 career games against the Giants, Schilling is 10-8 with a 3.00 ERA.
OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Giants - Bonds, .316 avg., 29 HRs, 60 RBIs and 65 runs; Bonds, Grissom and Ray Durham, 7 SBs. Diamondbacks - Steve Finley, .311 avg.; Luis Gonzalez, 18 HRs, 65 RBIs and 61 runs; David Dellucci and Tony Womack, 8 SBs.
SEASON SERIES: Giants, 5-1.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Giants - 1B J.T. Snow is batting .097 (3-for-31) in his career against RHP Schilling. … Manager Felipe Alou said C Benito Santiago’s dislocated finger will probably keep him out of the lineup until after the All-Star break. … CF Grissom has hit safely in 42 of his last 55 games. Diamondbacks - Brenly has not used the same lineup more than twice this season. … 3B Shea Hillenbrand is batting .514 (18-for-35) during a nine-game hitting streak. … LF Gonzalez is 1-for-23 (.043) against San Francisco this season.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Giants - 29-21 on the road; Diamondbacks - 27-20 at home.
INJURIES: Giants - OF Marvin Benard (knee), 15-day DL; RHP Kurt Ainsworth (shoulder), 15-day DL; RHP Robb Nen (shoulder), 15-day DL; LHP Kirk Rueter (shoulder), 15-day DL. Diamondbacks - C Rod Barajas (wrist), 15-day DL; INF Junior Spivey (ankle), 15-day DL; INF Womack (knee), 15-day DL; OF Danny Bautista (hamstring), 15-day DL; RHP Mike Koplove (shoulder), 15-day DL; LHP Johnson (knee), 60-day DL; RHP Bret Prinz (groin), 60-day DL.