SAN FRANCISCO -- Giants manager Bruce Bochy said Monday that Brad Penny is close to returning to Major League form and could be an option to join the Giants' pitching staff in the coming days.
The Giants signed Penny to a Minor League contract in May, and Penny has been pitching for the Triple-A Fresno Grizzlies after time at extended spring training and taking time off for a shoulder issue. Penny has a loose out clause in his contract in which the Giants would release Penny if he felt he was ready to be called up but the Giants did not.
"We signed him to come up here and help us," Bochy said. "We'll see how it goes. I talked to Brad yesterday, and he said he feels good. He's throwing the ball fairly well. He'll have a day or two off, then one more outing, and then we're going to have to make a call."
Penny has a 7.11 ERA in six appearances for Fresno, but has three scoreless innings in his last two appearances. The longtime starter has been appearing as a reliever and looked to be an option to join the Giants' bullpen, though Bochy said he would like to stretch Penny out to see if he could be available for a role as a long reliever or a spot starter.
"We'd like to stretch him out a little bit," Bochy said. "It'll certainly keep options open. You never know what can happen."
Penny could be especially valuable in a spot start or even rotation role should starters Tim Lincecum and Barry Zito continue to struggle and the Giants feel the need to skip a turn in the rotation.