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.
We learned on Monday that Hyun-Jin Ryu won one of the final two spots in the Dodgers’ starting rotation. Brandon McCarthy has won the other, Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register reports. Alex Wood was McCarthy’s competitor for the spot.
McCarthy, 33, posted a 4.85 ERA across four appearances spanning 13 innings this spring, yielding seven earned runs on 14 hits and a walk with seven strikeouts. Wood, a southpaw, gave up five earned runs in six innings against the Reds on Tuesday, which might have factored into the decision.
Last season, McCarthy made nine starts and one relief appearance, posting a 4.95 ERA with a 44/26 K/BB ratio in 40 innings. In the event McCarthy falters, the club has Wood as well as Julio Urias and the injured Scott Kazmir as potential replacements.
The Yankees have re-signed pitcher Jon Niese to a minor league contract, George A. King III of the New York Post reports. Niese was released on Sunday, but he’ll stick around and provide rotation depth for the Yankees.
Niese had knee surgery last August and got a late start to spring training as a result. In six spring appearances lasting an inning each, the lefty gave up three earned runs on five hits and a walk with five strikeouts.
Niese, a veteran of nine seasons, put up an aggregate 5.50 ERA with an 88/47 K/BB ratio in 121 innings last season between the Pirates and Mets.