A couple of nice items to brighten Spring Training for Dodger fans:
First, Brad Penny threw a 65-pitch bullpen session yesterday and is feeling pretty good. Jim Tracy has expressed no great haste to push Penny to take the mound on Opening Day, which is good news-- after all, Penny is still in uncharted waters as far as this nerve injury. But this word from Florida has to be if not a huge sigh of relief for the Dodgers and their fans, then at least a momentarily relaxing of chest and diaphragm. Get the whole story here.
Also, Jayson Stark’s March 10 post on ESPN.com has some interesting observations from around the league, including a glowing report on Yhency Brazoban that amounts to a big “I told you so” from me and others who figured he looked to be who DePodesta had in mind to fill the void left by Guillermo Mota last summer. Says Stark:
Baseball's next great eighth-inning setup monster might just be the Dodgers' quasi-anonymous Yhency Brazoban. With Eric Gagne out for at least another week, the Dodgers have been running Brazoban out there in the ninth inning this spring. And let's just say manager Jim Tracy has enjoyed the view.
"With his fastball and his slider, it's a little too early in the spring for hitters to be dialing up on that," Tracy said. "And he handled himself extremely well."
As recently as last spring, after the Dodgers picked him up from the Yankees as an extra arm in the Kevin Brown-Jeff Weaver deal, Brazoban "wasn't even on our radar screen," Tracy said. But once the Dodgers traded away Guillermo Mota at the trading deadline, Brazoban just about saved their season.
"We would have liked to ease him in," Tracy said. "But we didn't have that luxury. So we had to speed the process up, and oh my gracious ... He pretty much became Mota for us by about the middle to latter part of August."
Just 21 days, 15 hours and two minutes to Opening Day. Bring on the Giants.