Signed to an affordable one-year contract, much was expected of Brad Penny. Working with legendary pitching coach Dave Duncan, Penny was expected to finally corral his formidable array of hard fastball and sharp breaking pitches into an efficiency that would rejuvenate his career after coming off surgery.
And for seven starts Penny was everything the Cardinals wanted—a 1.70 ERA and an economy of pitches that had Cardinal Nation agog. But after hitting a Grand Slam in an inter-league game against Anaheim he felt discomfort in his shoulder.
What was first thought to be but a trifle has left Penny sidelined since May 21. No firm estimate is given for his return, but the team points to early August after rehab starts. Cardinal Nation hopes those estimate are true, but such optimism is frequently unfounded for this franchise.
The Prediction : Penny does return healthy and strong in August. Just in time to take the burden from rookie Jaime Garcia, whose stamina starts to flag. Penny leads the Cardinals deep into the playoffs.