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Penny to start Sept 22....?


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c/o mlb.com

MIAMI -- Pending the results of an MRI exam scheduled for Sunday, Marlins right-hander Brad Penny is tentatively set to make his next start on Sept. 22 at Atlanta.


Penny (13-10, 4.22) hyper-extended his right elbow Friday night in the Marlins' 5-4 comeback win over the Braves at Pro Player Stadium.


Experiencing discomfort warming up in the bullpen, Penny threw just 24 pitches in the first inning and removed himself at 2/3 inning.


An MRI was set for Saturday, but the 6-foot-4, 255-pound Penny was uneasy squeezing into the tube used for the MRI.


"It's just very narrow," said Penny, who told the nurses to get him out of the tube.


On Sunday, they will try again. This time, Penny will be sedated.


Barring a serious problem, Penny likely will miss his next projected start, which would be Thursday at Philadelphia.


Marlins manager Jack McKeon says as precaution, Penny would not pitch before Saturday, Sept. 22 at Atlanta.


Because the Marlins are off Monday, they are considering pushing everyone up a day, where they would pitch on five days' rest instead of six.


If that's the case, rookie Dontrelle Willis' turn would fall in Penny's spot Thursday at Philadelphia. Josh Beckett would then open the series at Atlanta on Friday, and, if ready, Penny would start the following day.


Should Penny be out indefinitely, veteran Rick Helling would start in Penny's place.


Penny said his arm felt fine on Saturday.


He has full range of motion, and the discomfort only came when he pitched.


It was obvious early Friday that Penny wasn't right.


"Something was funny," McKeon said. "He wasn't himself."


Penny walked Rafael Furcal on four pitches to open the game. The 25-year-old right-hander yielded a two-run homer to Andruw Jones, and gave up another run on Gary Sheffield's sacrifice fly.


Penny faced five batters and took himself out of the game with the count 1-2 on Javy Lopez.


After Lopez fouled off a pitch, Penny took the throw back from catcher Ivan Rodriguez. Frustrated that his arm wasn't responding, the Marlins right-hander flipped his glove across the mound. He started walking to the dugout as pitching coach Wayne Rosenthal and assistant trainer Mike Kozak were heading toward the mound.


Penny already has a career high for wins, 13. And he's thrown 181 1/3 innings, second-highest on the team to Carl Pavano's 184.


The Marlins have held their rotation intact since Tommy Phelps started on June 28 at Boston.


Rick Helling / P

Height: 6'3"

Weight: 215

Bats/Throws: R/R


More info:

Player page



Orioles site



Helling provides depth: A quiet pickup on Aug. 22 could become a key factor for the Marlins' rotation down the stretch.


That day, the Marlins agreed to terms with Helling, who opened the season with the Orioles.


McKeon called Helling a "life saver," for his 4 2/3 scoreless-inning performance on Friday.


When Penny went down, Helling kept the Marlins in the game, and eventually the team rallied to its 82nd win.


In his first six appearances with the Marlins, Helling hadn't gone more than two innings.


"I'm here to help the team any way I can," Helling said.


A starter throughout his career, Helling has plenty of experience pitching deep into games.


He hadn't thrown as many as 4 2/3 innings since he went five innings in a start for the Orioles at Tampa Bay on Aug. 13.


"He did a great job," McKeon said of Helling. "He kept us in the game, and that was probably the turning point in the ballgame.


"This was a big reason we picked up Helling. Not only for depth in the bullpen, but he is an experienced starter in case someone breaks down."

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