Miami Marlins' Brad Penny loses first minor league start

Kelley L Cox-US PRESSWIRE

The Miami Marlins signed Brad Penny to add a veteran arm to their minor league system, and in his first start in the Marlins' system, Penny yielded four runs in four and two third innings. Penny made his return to the organization with Class-A Jupiter.

Brad Hand may have pitched well enough against the Phillies on Thursday night to earn another start, but should Hand be inconsistent moving forward, the Marlins could turn to another Brad within their minor league system.

Miami signed Brad Penny to a minor league contract to add a veteran minor league arm, and Penny made his first start since returning to the organization with the Jupiter Hammerheads on Wednesday night. In four and two third innings, Penny yielded four runs and seven hits.

Penny, 36, allowed four earned runs and seven hits in 4 2/3 innings, and took the loss as the Hammerheads lost 7-3. He walked nobody, struck out two and hit a batter. Penny last pitched in the majors in 2012 with San Francisco and was out of the game last year.

"I feel good," Penny said in the clubhouse after the outing. "I’m trying to get some work in to see if I can help the Marlins down the road."

Hand went five innings and gave up three runs in the Marlins 5-4 loss to Philadelphia, but if he pitches well in his next few starts, Penny may receive an opportunity. After starting with Single-A, the Marlins will likely send the 2003 World Series standout to Triple-A before a promotion becomes realistic.

Penny posted a 6.11 ERA and 5.31 FIP in 28 major league innings with the Giants in 2012, but the 36-year old claims he feels good and is completely healthy.

Penny has never been much of a strike out pitcher, and while the run to innings pitched sample size in his first outing is not notable, he could prove to be an average back of the rotation option.

The Marlins could give Penny a look after having difficulty filling the fifth rotation spot. Anthony DeSclafani couldn't capitalize on the opportunity, and Hand, despite pitching well on his rehab assignment, has had trouble finding the strike zone at times.

The fact that Hand is a left-handed option may give him an edge over Penny, but if the Marlins are seeking an experienced arm, Penny is just that. If Hand settles into the role and Jacob Turner struggles as Miami's long reliever, Penny could join the bullpen in that capacity.

Before exploring a trade, Miami will likely rightfully evaluate Penny further, depending on how he pitches upon making his first few Triple-A appearances.

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