The Kansas City Royals have agreed to sign pitcher Brad Penny to a minor league contract that includes a spring training invite, according to a baseball source. Penny, who sat out last season after appearing in the majors with the Giants in 2012, will go to camp as a starter for the Royals.
Kansas City has James Shields, Jeremy Guthrie, Jason Vargas, Wade Davis and Danny Duffy penciled into the starting rotation, so Penny will likely compete for a back-end spot or provide depth in case of injury.
Penny, who turns 36 in May, told us earlier in the offseason that he was looking to make a comeback after taking a year off. He recently moved to the Kansas City area and has been working with trainer Joe Potts, making the Royals a logical fit for his comeback attempt.
"I just needed a year off to get my body back," Penny said in a phone interview in November. "I can't remember when I've had any time to recover other than the offseason. It wasn't anything serious, just my shoulder was tired. It's the only way that I was going to get to be better and play at the level that I want to play at, because it's not fun not being 100% out there."
"I just took the time and started working out in September with [trainer] Joe Potts" Penny said. "I've been just getting my strength up and working, I've been throwing bullpens lately. I feel a lot better. I'm not where I need to be yet, but there's no pain, so I feel so much better than I've ever felt in the offseason. I've always had that feeling that I may not be able to make it through 162 games. I've never really lifted like I have been this offseason either. I'm doing heavy weights, just building my strength up, and going from there and trying to maintain it the whole year."
"If I throw for a team and I feel good enough, then who knows. I think if I get an opportunity to pitch in spring training, healthier, I'm pretty confident that I can make a team."
In 22 bullpen appearances with the Giants in 2012, Penny was 0-1 with a 6.11 ERA in 28 innings of work. In thirteen major league seasons with the Marlins (2000-2004), Dodgers (2004-2008), Red Sox (2009), Giants (2009, 2012), Cardinals (2010), and Tigers (2011), he has posted a lifetime record of 119-100 with a 4.26 ERA, being named to the National League All-Star team on two occasions (2006, 2007).