Penny wants to be starter again
SAN DIEGO -- Activated from his second stint on the disabled list Wednesday and made available to pitch out of the bullpen, Brad Penny said he wants to start again this year and that he is “absolutely” certain that he can regain the form that made him an All-Star in each of the last two seasons.
“I know who I am as a pitcher,” said Penny, who was 6-9 with a 6.05 earned-run average in 17 starts.
Limited to two starts in the last 11 weeks, Penny said he had regrets about decisions he made this season.
“The one thing that bothers me is that I should’ve said something,” Penny said of the shoulder problems that he claims hindered him for most of the season.
Penny said he kept quiet because he felt he had to continue pitching to secure a contract for next season. He has a $9.25-million option for 2009 that the Dodgers can buy out for $2 million.
“That’s why I was out there trying to push myself -- because I didn’t have a guaranteed job next year,” he said. “I went about the whole situation wrong. If I had to do it over again, I would’ve just shut myself down.”
Penny said that General Manager Ned Colletti has been non-committal in the conversations he’s had about his future. “It just tells me they were never sold on me, which is fine,” Penny said.
Colletti acknowledged that he and owner Frank McCourt met in spring training with Penny and his agent, Greg Genske, who raised the idea of a multiyear contract extension. Colletti said he told Penny and Genske that based on how the season unfolded, the talks could be revisited.
Penny said that the Dodgers could have at least picked up his option at the end of last year to provide him with a sense of security. Colletti denied that the Dodgers weren’t interested in retaining Penny and said the option could still be exercised. Colletti added that he would’ve been making an unprecedented move as a front office executive by picking up an option an entire year before he was required to do so.
Though Penny said he wanted to remain with the Dodgers next season, he added, “I don’t want to play somewhere where I’m not wanted. If they don’t want me, that’s fine.”
Penny faced three batters in a relief appearance Wednesday against the Padres and did not record an out.
Saito on Saturday?
Takashi Saito threw 26 pitches to Rafael Furcal and Chin-lung Hu in a simulated game, and didn’t report any physical problems, increasing the likelihood that he will be activated Saturday in Colorado.
Saito said he told Manager Joe Torre to use him as he wanted and that he wasn’t particularly driven to regain his place as the Dodgers’ closer.
“I didn’t come to the United States wanting to be a closer,” Saito said, adding that he was more worried about regaining his feel for pitching in games.
More than four months removed from his last big league game, Furcal said that while his surgically repaired back wasn’t bothering him, he felt uncomfortable in the batter’s box when facing Saito.
Because of rust and a left hamstring that recently tightened, Furcal said he was unsure if he would be ready to be activated on this 10-game trip as Torre predicted.
Noting the Dodgers’ recent form, Furcal said he didn’t want to disrupt the team’s rhythm by returning.
“I want them to keep playing like that,” he said.