Brad Penny officially signs with Japan’s Softbank Hawks

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According to the Associated Press, via the San Diego Union-Tribune, the Softbank Hawks of Nippon Professional Baseball announced Sunday on their team website that veteran right-hander Brad Penny has officially agreed to a contract for 2012.

Terms of the deal have not been released. Penny is expected to travel to Japan on Wednesday.

The 33-year-old struggled to find much free agent interest from major league teams this winter after registering a rough 5.30 ERA, 1.56 WHIP and 74/62 K/BB ratio across 181 2/3 innings last season for the Tigers. Once regarded as a dangerous power pitcher, his fastball averaged a nine-year low 92.6 mph in 2011. The pitch averaged 94.1 mph in 2010, when Penny posted a 3.23 ERA and 35/9 K/BB ratio in 55 2/3 frames for the Cardinals before experiencing back problems.

UPDATE, 1:59 PM: According to FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, Penny’s contract is worth $4 million. It also carries $3.5 million worth of incentives and a $4.5 million mutual option for 2013.

MRI reveals that Jay Bruce has a strained right hip

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Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: a Mets player struggles mightily for an extended period, to the point where it seems pretty obvious that something is wrong with him. The team says that he’s merely “sore” or “banged up” or something and the team either plays short-handed for a while or deals with the diminished player taking his hacks. Then, when he is eventually placed on the disabled list, it’s revealed that he has more serious trouble than general soreness or being banged up.

You ask for miracles, Theo, I give you the New York Mets:

 

He had been put on the DL a couple of days ago, but now it’s clear what the problem is. It may also illuminate why Bruce is hitting just .212/.292/.321 with three homers and 17 RBI in 236 plate appearances this season.

The Mets have not announced a timetable for Bruce.