FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Today marked the first time that Brad Penny threw off a mound since last September, before he was shut down for the season and placed on the 60-day disabled list. And 30 pitches into yesterday's bullpen session, Penny was still feeling good.
"The way I feel now I shouldn't have any setbacks," said Penny, who threw all fastballs. "I've just got to stay after my shoulder work, do the best I can to stay in the best shape I can. Everything else will take care of itself."
The shoulder work appears to be some of the most important, as Penny cited assistant trainer Mike Reinold's shoulder program as one of the reasons he signed with the Sox this season. He's been on the program this offseason, and it seems like the problems that took a large chunk out of last season are not affecting him at this point. The workload and unique exercises -- "A lot of stuff that we weren't doing in LA, that I've never seen before and nobody had ever shown me," Penny said -- have been a revelation.
And it appears that the prognosis is good.
"I think as we look at the early part of camp before we move over to City of Palms, he'll be right in line with every other pitcher as far as their bullpen sessions go and their BP," pitching coach John Farrell said. "But we'll also be smart about it and if he needs an extra day built into his mound sessions, we'll look to do that. Even if we spread out his bullpens, it wouldn't affect his start date come the regular season."
That's different than the situation with John Smoltz, the other injured starter hoping to come back strong with the Sox. About him, Farrell said, "We don't have a date marked on a calendar that we expect him to walk on a mound in Fenway."