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Brad Penny released by Japanese team after one start

May 8, 2012, 11:51 AM EDT

Detroit Tigers v Baltimore Orioles Getty Images

This offseason Brad Penny signed a one-year, $4 million contract with the SoftBank Hawks in Japan, but the two sides have already parted ways.

Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker linked to a Japanese report that says Penny complained of shoulder soreness after a poor debut on April 4 and hasn’t pitched since, with team officials saying that he had trouble adapting to Japanese baseball and wanted to be let go.

It’s unclear how much of that $4 million Penny will keep, but his contract also included $3.5 million in potential incentives that are presumably now out the window.

Penny is 33 years old, apparently has a sore arm, and posted a 5.30 ERA with nearly as many walks (62) as strikeouts (74) for the Tigers last season, so odds are he’ll have trouble finding more than a minor-league contract back home.

  1. pisano - May 8, 2012 at 1:09 PM

    Not a problem, now he can resign with the Red Sox.

    • bigharold - May 8, 2012 at 5:27 PM

      Someone tell the “Nation”; .. Help’s on the way!!

  2. darthicarus - May 8, 2012 at 1:18 PM

    I believe Major League Baseball is in contract discussions with the Pacific League to ensure that Brad Penny does NOT return to the States. Money isn’t quite in the Yu Darvish range, but it’s close.

  3. jwbiii - May 8, 2012 at 3:01 PM

    The Japanese press is reporting that Penny asked for his release.

  4. humanexcrement - May 8, 2012 at 3:17 PM

    I wonder if we’re going to see an increase in American players playing in the Japanese leagues. After seeing Penny and Willy Mo Pena get multi-million dollar deals, which is far from what they would have gotten from any major league team, I’m thinking we just might see more of this kind of thing.

    • jwbiii - May 8, 2012 at 5:49 PM

      Not much. They’ve got a limit of four foreign players per team, or 48 total. I count 37 players in NPB who have been on MLB 40 man rosters since 2007. This obviously misses few players who have been playing Japan since before then or players from Korea, Taiwan, Australia, Venezuela, or the D.R. who went directly to Japan. There just aren’t many more roster spots available.

  5. avietar - May 9, 2012 at 3:51 PM

    I always felt that “r” never belonged in his name…

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