By The Associated Press
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Righthander Brad Penny pitched three scoreless innings in a minor league game against a Class A Minnesota Twins squad today. He threw 41 pitches -- 30 for strikes -- and struck out four of the 11 batters he faced. He gave up one hit.
"I think today was significantly improved over his outing five days ago," Red Sox pitching coach John Farrell said. "I thought his arm strength and command of his fastball was improved. His velocity was improved over his previous time, which again is a benchmark, not an end-all. But I thought the definition to his pitches, getting up and down three times for the three innings today was primarily the goal to get him close to 45 pitches."
Penny has yet to appear in a Grapefruit League game. He was scratched from his March 4 start against Puerto Rico after shoulder fatigue cut short a bullpen session three days earlier. Shoulder ailments last season limited him to 19 appearances, 17 starts, with a record of 6-9 and 6.27 ERA.
"I need to I build my pitch count up. It's repetition, you know, pitching off of a mound to hitters. That's where the mechanics come in, when you're facing hitters, and your arm speed is where you need it to be. Bullpen always helps, but game speed, you can't go out and practice that."
Farrell said Penny is on track for his first spring training start March 23.