Shoulder soreness keeping Brad Penny from Giants bullpen

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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.

The Cards dealt Stephen Piscotty to the A’s, in part, so he could be near his ailing mother

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Last night we wrote about the rumored deal between the Cardinals and the Athletics for Stephen Piscotty. The deal is now official, with Piscotty going to Oakland for minor leaguers Yairo Munoz and Max Schrock.

Something else emerged about the deal today: a big reason why St. Louis traded Piscotty to Oakland as opposed to another team was so that he could be near his mother, who was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease last May. Piscotty and his family are from Pleasanton, California, about 35 miles from Oakland.

Here’s Cardinals GM John Mozeliak:

This was certainly a baseball trade — Piscotty became expendable for the Cardinals after they acquired Marcell Ozuna yesterday — but it was one which could’ve been made with any team with a couple of red or white chip prospects. That Mozeliak considered Piscotty’s personal situation in making the deal with the A’s is a credit to him and his staff.

The 26-year-old Piscotty hit .235 with nine homers and 39 RBIs in 107 games last season. He has hit .268 with 38 homers and 163 RBIs in 2+ major league seasons. He agreed to a six-year, $33.5 million contract extension last spring.

As for the prospects in return: Munoz, 22, hit .300 with 13 homers and 68 RBIs this year for Double-A Midland and Triple-A Nashville. Schrock, 23, batted .321 with seven homers and 46 RBIs for Midland, and was a Texas League All-Star.