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On Wednesday, the Boston Red Sox released starting pitcher Brad Penny in accordance with his wishes. Penny, who signed a one-year contract worth $5 million (with performance-based bonuses worth $3 million) last January, was removed from the starting rotation to make room for the freshly recovered Tim Wakefield and will now be replaced on the roster by recently acquired reliever Billy Wagner.
Penny started this season well, jumping out to a 5-1 record at the end of May, but won only two of his next 15 starts (with one win coming in his last 11). The 31-year-old pitcher was removed from the rotation after allowing eight runs in four innings during last Friday’s 20-11 loss to the New York Yankees. After Wednesday night’s 3-2 victory over the Chicago White Sox, in which Penny was to pitch relief for Wakefield if need, he “asked for [his] release and got it.” He will leave the team with a 7-8 record and a 5.61 ERA.
“I enjoyed playing with all of the guys,” Penny said of his time with the Red Sox, according to the Boston Herald. “I played for a great manager on a great team. I had a great time. I enjoyed it. I wish things had worked out better, but that happens.”
The struggling right-handed hurler who emphasized that he “had some bad breaks and made some bad pitches” but that his “shoulder is healthy” will clear waivers on Monday, at which point he will have less than 24 hours to join a team if he wants to pitch in the playoffs.
With his removal from the rotation and the signing of Wagner, the release of Penny comes as no surprise. He will most likely return to the National League where he enjoyed a great deal of success with the Los Angeles Dodgers. If he is anything like John Smoltz, he’ll probably have a great rest of the season.
For the Red Sox, the main worry now is what will happen if Wakefield is re-injured or if Clay Buchholz or Junichi Tazawa implodes after their recent successes. The organization does not have a great deal of depth in terms of starting pitchers. If Josh Beckett doesn’t get his stuff back, it could be a very short post-season for the team.