After missing a start, Johnson will take the mound for the Arizona Diamondbacks on Wednesday night when they try for a three-game sweep of Howard and the Philadelphia Phillies.
Johnson (2-2, 4.54 ERA) missed his last start with tendinitis in his forearm. The 43-year-old left-hander, who also missed the first three weeks of the season while recovering from back surgery, will be trying to help Arizona (31-23) extend a six-game winning streak.
The run, which continued with an 11-5 victory Tuesday night, has brought the Diamondbacks within one-half game of the NL West-leading Los Angeles Dodgers.
Prior to the tendinitis, Johnson won his last two starts while posting a 1.54 ERA.
Johnson gave up two runs and seven hits while striking out a season-high 10 in 5 2-3 innings of Arizona’s 5-2 victory over Pittsburgh on May 20.
He faced Philadelphia (26-26) on May 9, allowing three runs and four hits while striking out nine in six innings as the Diamondbacks lost 9-3.
Johnson is 8-3 with a 2.57 ERA in 17 career starts against the Phillies.
Howard has never faced the five-time Cy Young Award winner, but he’ll likely get a chance Thursday despite injuring his left leg diving for a ground ball in the ninth inning of Tuesday night’s loss.
It turned out to be only a cramp.
“My leg is fine,” Howard said. “I know what to do. I had to stretch it out.”
Howard went 1-for-3 with a single Tuesday, and has three homers in five games since coming off the disabled list last Friday. The reigning NL MVP missed two weeks with a quadriceps injury that began bothering him in spring training.
The Phillies have fallen back to .500, and are in danger of getting swept for the first time since opening the season with three losses to Atlanta.
Arizona will likely be without rookie third baseman Mark Reynolds, who suffered a neck contusion, but is listed as day-to-day.
“He’ll probably need a day off,” Diamondbacks manager Bob Melvin said. “He’s a tough kid.”
Reynolds is hitting .420 (21-for-50) with three homers and 13 RBIs since being called up from Double-A Mobile.
The Diamondbacks will face Jamie Moyer (5-3, 4.18), who had a solid outing against Atlanta in his last start after giving up a season-high seven runs in a loss to Toronto in his previous outing.
The 44-year-old left-hander surrendered three runs - two earned - and five hits in seven innings to beat the Braves 8-3 on Friday night.
Moyer defeated Arizona on May 9, allowing three runs and six hits in seven innings as the Phillies won 9-3. His only other appearance against the Diamondbacks was a 3-2 loss on June 28, 1998, when he was pitching for the Seattle Mariners.