Big Unit throws, eyes bullpen role

Randy Johnson has pitched a simulated game, taking the mound at San Francisco’s AT&T Park for the first time since July 5.

Johnson threw 53 pitches, including warm-ups, before the Giants played the Colorado Rockies on Monday night. He was facing batters for the first time since going on the disabled list with a torn rotator cuff more than two months ago. Johnson has been working out near his home in Arizona.

The lanky left-hander said the next step will be to see how he feels this morning before coming up with a plan for achieving his goal of pitching out of the bullpen for the remainder of the season.

Teenagers file suit over ‘God Bless America’ flap

Three teenagers who say they were tossed from a New Jersey ballpark over their refusal to stand during the song “God Bless America” are suing the minor league Newark Bears.

The boys argue that their constitutional rights were violated when they were asked to leave Riverfront Stadium on June 29 by Bears president and co-owner Thomas Cetnar.

Cetnar acknowledged the boys were asked to leave but declined to say why. He also has denied making some statements attributed to him in the lawsuit.

The boys – Millburn High seniors Bryce Gadye and Nilkumar Patel, both 17, and junior Shaan Mohammad Khan, 16 – sued in federal court on Friday seeking unspecified damages.

According to the lawsuit, the boys were seated behind home plate when the song began playing. Once it ended, they say Cetnar approached them yelling.

“Nobody sits during the singing of ‘God Bless America’ in my stadium,” the lawsuit quotes Cetnar as saying. “Now the get the (expletive) out of here.”

Short hops

The St. Louis Cardinals skipped John Smoltz’s turn in the rotation Monday night after he complained of shoulder tendinitis two days earlier. The 42-year-old right-hander said he felt good enough to pitch but realized it was wise to take precautions. … Detroit Tigers relief pitcher Fernando Rodney has had his three-game suspension reduced to two games. … Justin Morneau’s season is over because of a stress fracture in his lower back, and the Twins likely will lose Joe Crede for the remainder of the season, too.