2009 Spring Training: Penny makes first start, Smoltz throws bullpen


Brad Penny threw three strong innings this week in his first Spring starting assignment, and was able to work at 100 percent without discomfort or fatigue. Penny touched 95 mph on the radar gun, and was able to break off some offspeed stuff without any issues. He ended up retiring 9 of the 10 men he faced, only walking Gary Sheffield in the first. This is really good news for the Sox.

At the same time, Tim Wakefield turned in his sharpest outing of the Spring, tossing five great innings against the Yankees. George Kottaras’ defense wasn’t noticeable in that game, in a good way (i.e. no passed balls or obvious blunders) and he looked very natural handling Wakefield’s best knuckler.

And just today, John Smoltz threw his first bullpen session, and optimism abounds that he can be ready before the team’s original June 1 return estimate.

Everything seems to be falling in place for Boston, who gambled a bit on several injured or recovering players this offseason. This rotation should be tough on any team if everyone’s healthy. Other injured players seem to be getting back to health at the right time as well.

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