The Miami Marlins could add a familiar face to the rotation by the end of the month as Brad Penny continues to throw well in the minors.
Penny is on a minor-league contract but can opt-out of it if he isn't in the big leagues by July 31st. With his success thus far in the minor leagues and the deadline hovering, Penny could be promoted by the end of the month.
The last time that the veteran pitched in the major leagues was 2012 when he was with the San Francisco Giants. Things didn't go so well that season as Penny had a 6.11 E.R.A in 28 innings pitched. All of those innings came out of the bullpen and it was the first time Penny was used exclusively as a reliever in his big league career.
In 2011, Penny was a starter for the Detroit Tigers but he didn't see much in the way of success that year either. The right-hander had a 5.30 E.R.A in 31 starts and his W.H.I.P was high as well at 1.563. That was mostly due to the 222 hits that Penny allowed and is a number that he will need to be better at if he is promoted.
Penny elected to sit out the entire 2013 season but then decided to give it another try this past off-season. After a brief stint during spring training with the Kansas City Royals, Penny joined the Marlins in June. He is set to earn a pro-rated portion of $800,000 if he makes the big leagues.
Thus far in the minor leagues, Penny has made stops in Single-A Jupiter and AAA New Orleans. In three combined starts, Penny has a 3.45 E.R.A and has shown good command. The 36-year old has only walked one batter in 15.2 innings while striking out ten. The hit total is respectable as well with 13 hits allowed in those innings.
Penny's most recent start was in AAA and was his best thus far. He went five shutout innings in which three hits were surrendered. The veteran also struck out six in that game and he is set to make another start on Friday.
The Marlins are looking for arms as they enter the second half with a four-man rotation. Once that fifth spot comes around, the team will have a decision to make. In addition, Brad Hand has not been spectacular and could end up losing his rotation spot as well in time.
Penny should have an opportunity to return to the big leagues if he continues to throw well in AAA. Coupled with Miami's needs, the return for the 2003 World Champion could come sooner rather than later.