When Brad Penny got out of his contract in Japan and signed a minor-league deal with the Giants last month there was talk of him making a quick path back to the majors and joining San Francisco’s bullpen almost immediately.
Three weeks later that hasn’t happened, and in fact Penny’s first scheduled Triple-A appearance has been canceled because of the same shoulder soreness that played a part in his returning from Japan.
He was supposed to make the first of 3-4 appearances today, but now his status is unclear and manager Bruce Bochy told Chris Haft of MLB.com that “this could take awhile … we have to do what’s right, we’ve got some time.”
In recent years Penny has had sub par results as a starter despite maintaining top-notch fastball velocity, so converting him to the bullpen is a worthwhile idea, but at age 34 and five years removed from his last effective, healthy season it’s not going to be that simple.
Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reports that the Nationals will ask to speak with Astros’ bench coach Alex Cora after the American League Championship Series concludes on Saturday. This comes on the heels of the news that club manager Dusty Baker will not be returning to the team in 2018.
Cora, 42, has some experience in the Nationals’ organization. He played for the Nats during his last big league stint in 2011, batting .224/.287/.276 through 91 games before announcing his retirement in the spring of 2012. Per Cafardo, he was also offered a player development gig with the club, but has not appeared in any kind of official role with them since his days as a major league infielder. While he’s been lauded for his leadership skills and strong clubhouse presence, he hasn’t acquired any managerial experience since his retirement, save for a handful of games with the Astros where he filled in for A.J. Hinch.
Despite the appeal of having a familiar face in the dugout, the Nationals aren’t the only ones eyeing Cora. The Astros’ coach has already interviewed with the Tigers, Mets and Red Sox this month. Boston appears to be the current favorite to land him and according to at least one source, may even announce his hiring in advance of the World Series next Tuesday.