Results tagged ‘ Brad Penny ’

Penny cuts throw short

Cardinals pitcher Brad Penny encountered a setback on Tuesday in his rehabilitation from a strained right lat muscle.
As Penny was about to begin facing hitters for the first time since he went on the disabled list, he experienced discomfort near the area of the original injury and shut down the throw. He left Coors Field shortly thereafter and will return to St. Louis to be examined by the Cardinals’ medical staff.
“It’s a big negative,” manager Tony La Russa said.
Penny had been on track to make a Minor League rehabilitation start on Sunday if Tuesday’s throw had gone well.

Penny to DL, but Cards optimistic

The Cardinals placed Brad Penny on the disabled list on Saturday due to a strained right lat muscle, but general manager John Mozeliak expressed optimism that Penny will only be out for the minimum 15 days. St. Louis recalled right-handed pitcher P.J. Walters from Triple-A Memphis to take Penny’s roster spot. 
Penny received an anti-inflammatory shot in the area of the injury on Saturday morning. The club hopes he can resume throwing in approximately 7-10 days, and be back on the mound in a game in 15 days.
“Right now we think it’ll be a minimal stay on the 15-day,” Mozeliak said on Saturday morning. “That’s what we’re hopeful of.”
Penny said he first felt the injury after he pitched last weekend in Cincinnati, and that he aggravated it while pitching on Friday night against the Angels.

Walters headed east

Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak confirmed on Friday night that right-hander P.J. Walters is on his way to St. Louis to join the team on Saturday afternoon. Mozeliak said that the club has not yet determined who will be placed on the disabled list to accommodate Walters.

The options are starter Brad Penny, who left Friday’s win over the Angels with a right lat strain, and reliever Blake Hawksworth, who is sidelined due to a sore right groin. The club will determine which player will be shelved on Saturday morning after further evaluation of the two injured players’ situation.
Saturday would be Walters’ day to pitch Triple-A Memphis, which is playing at Sacramento this weekend. So he will be available to pitch multiple innings in relief over the weekend. Any decisions beyond that remain a bit hazy. Walters could take Penny’s next turn in the rotation, or the Cardinals could look to Adam Ottavino to take that job.

Sunday Chess Match: Deploying, Or Not Deploying, Lud

The situation: Top of the fifth inning, Cardinals trailing, 4-0. Skip Schumaker and Jason LaRue reach base to open the inning, so St. Louis has runners on first and second with no outs and the eighth and ninth spots coming to bat. Ryan Ludwick is among the hitters available on the bench.

The decision: Brad Penny and Tyler Greene were both left in to hit.
The outcome: Penny singles and Greene hits into a run-scoring force play, but Colby Rasmus hits into a fielders choice and Jon Jay strikes out. The Cardinals get only one run from the inning, and Penny lasts only one more inning.
The analysis: Penny had not been sharp over the first four innings. He gave up three more runs in the fifth, and it really wasn’t a surprise. He just didn’t have a good game. So there’s a case to be made that with a chance to change the dynamic of the game, it’s time to go to Ludwick.
Another alternative was to hit Ludwick for Greene with the bases loaded. The opportunity is even bigger there, obviously, since there are three on instead of two. At the same time, it was clear that TLR didn’t want Brendan Ryan to play in this game. If you hit for Greene, you’re looking at Ryan for the next five innings, and that’s an outcome that wasn’t very desirable for the manager.
TLR’s pattern over the years has been to “save a bullet.” When he has a major weapon on his bench, someone like Ludwick, he prefers to have that player available in the eighth or ninth.
That doesn’t seem to have been the deciding factor today, though. Instead, it seems that La Russa simply had some players that he really wanted to rest or keep out of the game. By going to the bench in the fifth, he might have forfeited that chance.
The comment: “If the game had gotten away, I was going to use the other guys to give a couple guys off.”
My verdict: If TLR really prioritized the off day for his guys that highly, I can’t argue with that notion. He knows his players’ health and fitness better than I do, and if they needed the rest in the middle of a stretch of 13 days without an off day, that’s a defensible stance. I’m just not entirely sold that it would have jeopardized that off day so much. I think you could have used Ludwick as a pinch-hitter there and not wrecked the whole afternoon’s plan.

And if it was simply tactical, I definitely disagree. I would have hit for Penny, even though Penny got a hit. He was clearly scuffling, and if you’re going to ask for 3-4 innings from the bullpen, why not ask for 4-5? That’s your chance to give the game a totally different look on one swing.

Once Penny stayed in, I would not have hit for Greene. Ryan is really, really fighting it right now, and I’m all on board with giving him the full day. 


Note of the night/Stat of the day, May 16

Note of the night: There was a really cool atmosphere at Great American Ball Park all weekend. It’s clear that Cincinnati is excited about the Reds, and as a baseball fan, that’s great to see. This has, at times, been a great baseball town, and the game is IMO better when historic franchises like the Reds are good and relevant.

It was somewhat striking to me, though, that in talking to Cardinals players and staff, there was almost an air of something like “that’s so cute” about the whole thing. Nobody explicitly said that, or even came close to saying it. But it was very clear that the Cardinals perspective on the weekend was, “win this series, just like every other series.”
That’s a very La Russa mindset, and I’m not even suggesting it’s the wrong one. But it did seem to be the context of the weekend. Bronson Arroyo said as much postgame today, when he said “It’s not a big deal to them. It’s definitely a bigger deal on this side.”
Asked about the standings, here’s what a couple of Cardinals had to say.
Albert Pujols, asked if it was a big deal to fall out of first place, said:
“It’s a big deal losing a series. We came here to try to win the series, and we had a pretty good chance. That chance slipped out of our way. W don’t care about first place right now, because first place is a long way from now. You still have a long season. I think the idea is to try to win series, and that’s what we focus and concentrate on every day. 
“We were in first place until they won, and that [didn’t] guarantee us the playoffs automatically. Until the last game of the season, that’s when you want to be there. If this would have been the last game of the season and we would have fallen out of first place, it would be a big deal. but we’ve still got a lot of games against that ballclub, and we’ve still got a lot of games against great ballclubs in the Central division.”
And here’s Brad Penny, asked a very similar question:
“I’m not really concerned right now. … It’s exciting for them. Not many years they’ve been where they are now. It’s better than not being there at all. I can definitely understand their excitement. They’ve definitely got a better team this year. If their pitching holds up, they’re going to be pretty tough.”
Take it for what it’s worth, but I thought it was interesting.
Stat of the day: After allowing nine home runs in the season’s first 33 games, and at one point going 21 straight games without giving up even a single homer, Cardinals starters have now allowed a home run in five straight games.
For all the talk about how the Cardinals offense has leaned too much on the home run, the simple truth is this: teams that hit home runs win more often. If you hit a lot of them, you’re going to score runs and win. If you give up a lot of them, you’re going to allow runs and lose. The homer rate that this staff had earlier in the year was unsustainable. It will be interesting to see how the rotation fares as that number normalizes a little bit.
Fun with double situational splits: Colby Rasmus is 0-for-16 at home in May.
And, finally, the playlist:
Today, it’s culled from things we heard at GABP this weekend. This is one of the best ballparks around for music.
The Bar-Kays, “Soul Finger”
Dire Straits, “Skateaway”
The Rolling Stones, “Waiting On a Friend”
Smokey Robinson & The Miracles, “I Second That Emotion”
R.E.M., “These Days”

Saturday late tidbits: Penny is fine

Another day in the books at Roger Dean Stadium, and remarkably there are only five more games down here before we all head north.

* No sooner did Brad Penny have the bandage taken off his left leg from one line drive than he was hit by another. Hanley Ramirez scorched a ball up the middle in the sixth inning that drilled Penny on the inside back of his left thigh. Penny remained in the game for two more batters, but he definitely had a souvenir from Ramirez.
Penny has been hit repeatedly by comebackers this spring.
“Same thing, ball up the middle, I stick my leg out and try to knock it down,” he said. “Hit me in the muscle, good spot again. It was the thigh. It was on the back of my leg. If it had been a knee, it might have been a problem. I stick my leg out trying to block the ball, trying to knock it down.
“They didn’t score, so I’ll take it. especially in the season.”
Penny tested his leg out and was all right, so he stayed in the game to finish the sixth inning. That’s all he was scheduled for, so he came out after the sixth. He was moving around just fine in the clubhouse afterward.
* Tony La Russa said that he won’t be looking to get Ryan Franklin into back-to-back games this spring. If the games dictate it, La Russa would be open to the possibility, but it won’t be something he will try for.
* Colby Rasmus, who has sat the past three days due to a knee bruise, is expected back in the lineup tomorrow in Port St. Lucie. Just about the entire team will be making the trip except for Matt Holliday and Trever Miller, who will get a day off.

Late Saturday Warm-Up tidbits

Matthew Leach

Another round of notes for you from today’s Winter Warm-Up. The main story coming a little later this evening at will be on McGwire, after a long chat with John Mozeliak today regarding the hitting coach.

* Brad Penny was emphatic that he’s never thought of himself as a strikeout pitcher, and will have no qualms about a pitch-to-contact approach in St. Louis. Asked about his low-K-rate, high-groundball-rate stint in San Francisco, he said he didn’t really change his approach but he was working with a slightly different arsenal.
“I was pitching to contact like I always do,” Penny said. “I’ve never had high strikeout numbers. I can’t remember a season where I’ve had a lot, except for the Minor Leagues. I started throwing a slider a little bit towards the end of the year, and I was getting more groundballs in a 1-0 count instead of having to throw a fastball over the plate.”
* Brendan Ryan talked a good bit about what he’s trying to do with his swing.
“He [McGwire] is trying to put me in a position to hit the ball better and be more consistent,” Ryan said. “I battle changing my stance every week. So the first thing was, let’s find a batting stance and let’s stick with that. the funny thing is, I had a hard time finding out who I am. So I just kind of started doing what Albert did, and I started taking good swings. so I’m going to hit like Albert this year, at least batting stance-wise. I’m going to try. That’s what we’ve been doing. It feels good. he’s got a pretty darn good swing obviously. If I can do an impersonation of that and fall just short, then I should have a pretty good swing too.”
* Jason Motte feels he’s finally found an offspeed pitch he can rely on — two of them, actually.
“I was going fastball-cutter,” he said, “and then a slider-curve kind of thing was my third one. Probably in that order.”
And, finally, Trever Miller had quite a lot to say in his session.
Miller on the team’s prospects: “I think we’re probably the favorite in our division. From the looks of our team, we’re strong everywhere.”
Miller on his shoulder: “It feels better this offseason. I just had my first round of long toss. All the exercise I do and all the training is what’s keeping it healthy and strong.”
Miller on McGwire: “The guy loves the game. To have to go through what he went through, coming out and telling everybody of the steroid use, there’s no doubt he loves the game. If you love the game, I love you. I can’t wait.”
And Miller on Ryan Franklin: “Frankie’s going to be our closer. He did a great job last year, one of the best in the game. he deserves the right to be the closer again, and I’m sure he’ll prove to everybody that he’s going to do it for the rest of his career.”
Today’s playlist:
Radiohead, “My Iron Lung”
Garbage, “Silence Is Golden”
Muse, “Starlight”
Cure, “Watching Me Fall”
Crystal Method, “Drown in the Now”

Signing off for a while

The Winter Meetings have just about wrapped up. The media workroom is less than half full, the lobby is empty and all the teams are long gone. A few thoughts before I take a little bit of vacation.

* I like the Penny signing, for the most part. I believe he’ll be successful this year for a variety of reasons, mostly that his stuff and ability should play pretty well at Busch Stadium and in the NL Central. It seems like a bit of a steep base salary, but not ridiculously so, and someone smarter than me once said that there are no bad one-year contracts. I don’t entirely agree with that, but there’s a lot of sense to it. You just can’t get hurt that badly with a one-year deal.
* The Holliday situation remains difficult to get a read on. Just from talking to people, listening, getting the lay of the land, there just doesn’t seem to be that much of a market for him right now. And yet, I’m not at all sure that benefits the Cardinals. If there’s no market right now, it’s likely as not that the Boras Corp. will remain patient rather than leaping at an offer that falls short of their goals.
* ‘Plan B’ seems to be this winter’s catch phrase for the Cardinals’ hot stove. As for what Plan B actually looks like, I think it’s still pretty fluid. My read is they’re not targeting a specific shape for how things go. It’s not like they’re saying, “We’re going to spend $10 million on a third baseman, $6 million on another starter and $4 million on the bench and bullpen.”
Instead, it’ll be case-by-case, as they did with Penny. If a DeRosa deal that makes sense can be reached, they’ll do it. Then they’ll look at what fits beyond that. If the next move that makes sense is a starting pitcher, they’ll do that, then analyze what the rest of the moves look like.
There’s definitely a lot in play, a lot of moving parts here.
And with that, I head out. Will catch up with all of you again after New Year’s. I’ll probably tweet a little (@MatthewHLeach) but you won’t see me here at the blog. News will be handled by my capable colleagues at And I expect there will be news.
Happiest of holidays to everybody. Thanks so much for reading, commenting, tweeting, emailing, and everything else all year. It’s been a fun year. The last playlist of ’09 is five of my favorite Christmas songs…
The Waitresses, “Christmas Wrapping”
Band Aid, “Do They Know It’s Christmas”
Bruce Springsteen, “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town”
Run-D.M.C., “Christmas In Hollis”
Keith Richards, “Run Run Rudolph”

Cards-Penny deal done

INDIANAPOLIS — The Cardinals confirmed on Tuesday night that their signing of Brad Penny is official and finalized. Penny passed a physical exam in St. Louis on Tuesday and becomes the newest member of the Redbirds.
The right-hander agreed to a one-year contract worth $7.5 million guaranteed, plus incentive clauses that reportedly could take it to a total value of $9 million. The Cardinals agreed that if Penny is a Type A free agent following the 2010 season, they will not offer him arbitration.
Penny, 31, went a combined 11-9 with a 4.88 ERA for the Red Sox and Giants in 2009. He struggled greatly in Boston and was released, but came on strong at the end of the year with San Francisco. In six starts as a Giant, Penny was 4-1 with a 2.59 ERA.
For his career, Penny has a 105-84 record and a 4.14 ERA. He is a two-time All-Star and finished third in the Cy Young balloting in 2007 as a member of the Dodgers.

Monday night tidbits: Holliday, Penny, arb offers, more

Just got back about an hour ago from the Cardinals’ suite at the Marriott in downtown Indianapolis. Here’s a rundown of some of the newsworthy notes from the media session with John Mozeliak.

* The Cardinals met with Scott Boras for approximately 90 minutes on Sunday night, but Mozeliak didn’t give the indication that he feels the team is any closer to understanding where it really stands with Boras. The conversation was heavily about Matt Holliday, rather than about any of the other players of note (Xavier Nady, Adrian Beltre) represented by Boras in this market.
* As noted elsewhere on the site, a deal with Brad Penny is evidently imminent. It hinges on a physical, which could take place Tuesday or Wednesday. Multiple reports have pegged the 1-year deal at $7.5 million in base salary with incentives that could take it up to $9 million.
* Mozeliak said that although things can still change in the next 3 1/2 hours, the Cardinals are not currently expecting anyone to accept arbitration.
* The Cardinals are not necessarily done adding pitching. Obviously if they make something happen with Holliday, they won’t add another starter. But if no deal with Holliday gets done, Mozeliak said tonight that they could sign another starter, rather than giving the fifth spot to an in-house option. I don’t think this is very likely, but it’s on the table.
* Mozeliak was cagey about whether he felt they’d need a “caddy” for Penny, ie somebody who could safely be relied on to provide innings in case Penny breaks down. But basically he didn’t sound like he considered that a priority.
* No surprise here, but Mozeliak said they do not intend to non-tender anyone next week.
* The Cardinals expect to be much busier talking with agents than with other teams this week. That makes sense, because the farm system just doesn’t offer many trade chips right now.
* Asked about the “Cardinal mystique” and whether it did or did not take with Holliday, Mozeliak was blunt about Holliday/Boras’ perspective: “This, right now, is a market-driven deal.”
A playlist of melancholy tunes for a gray day:
Dinosaur Jr., “Thumb”
Morphine, “Cure For Pain”
Beta Band, “Dry the Rain”
Radiohead, “Fake Plastic Trees”
Aimee Mann, “Wise Up”