Notes: Penny jets after first spring start

Notes: Penny jets after first spring start

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Brad Penny pitched well in his Spring Training debut Saturday, but he wasn't around to talk about it.

Penny tossed two innings of one-hit ball in the Dodgers' 1-0 loss to the Mets on a walk-off hit batsman, then bolted Tradition Field for an Ultimate Championship Fighting match in Ohio that featured one of his friends. He apologized to the media for being unavailable, but the right-hander passed along word that he had a flight to catch.

Penny worked an easy 1-2-3 first inning, aided by a pair of fielding gems by second baseman Delwyn Young. After fanning Moises Alou on a check swing to start the second, the Mets managed a pair of baserunners with one out. Penny, though, ended the threat with another check-swing strikeout, getting catcher Ramon Castro.

"He's not where he's going to be later in the spring, but I thought he threw the ball pretty good," said Dodgers manager Joe Torre. "I thought he turned it up a bit when he had men on base."

Penny received the Opening Day endorsement earlier this week from Derek Lowe, who has worked the last three Los Angeles Opening Days. While Torre said Penny is a possibility, adding that the righty is on schedule for the March 31 season opener in Los Angeles against San Francisco, no official announcement has been made.

No setback: Reliever Greg Miller continued his lingering wildness problem on Friday against the Braves, but said he won't let the issue plague him, and that it's not a setback.

"Talking to [bullpen coach] Kenny [Howell] and [pitching coach] Rick [Honeycutt], they said, 'If you went 1-2-3, we wouldn't even be having this conversation,'" Miller said of his five-batter outing in the Dodgers' 10-3 loss in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.

The California native gave up three hits, but worse were the two walks. Miller was charged with five earned runs in the seven-run frame that broke open the game.

"For me, I've got to go back to the basic building blocks of a simple delivery," said Miller, who walked 89 batters in 76 2/3 innings between stops in Triple-A Las Vegas and Double-A Jacksonville last season. "I want to take out all the moving parts and make it simple so it's easy to repeat. Every pitcher's going to get in a little trouble, but I need to get out of trouble with a simple delivery."

The 23-year-old hurler drew a comparison between pitching and golf, saying he needed to develop more consistency.

"It's really similar," Miller said. "In a golf swing, you want to be compact and have as simple a swing as you can get. That's what I'm trying to do right now.

"But it's one inning, that's all it is. And it's the first time I'm facing competitive hitters. I'm moving forward. This is Day 1 again for me."

Sliding around: Young has been taking some extra practice at second base, and it appears to be paying off.

The starting second baseman made a pair of sensational sliding stops of ground balls, first nipping Marlon Anderson and closing out the inning with one on David Wright. Young opened the third inning with a diving grab and throw of a potential single up the middle by Salomon Manriquez.

"After all the early work, it's nice to have a day like today where the results show," said Young, who last played second base in 2005 at Jacksonville and Las Vegas, but is currently out of options.

He also turned the middle of a double play in the fifth inning and was upended on a hard slide by Ruben Gotay. Young stood up gingerly, dusted himself off and stayed in the game.

Said Torre: "I see him progressing. He's a young man, but he certainly has a grip on the situation. He's not just sitting there, saying, 'Well, I've got to make the big leagues,' which isn't necessarily for sure. He's not letting the grass grow under his feet. He's working at it and applying it in the game. We know he'll hit; he's just a little overanxious right now."

Defensive day: Torre praised his team's glove work Saturday. Young, Chin-lung Hu, Andy LaRoche and Mark Sweeney all made outstanding plays in the field, while Andre Ethier gunned down Angel Pagan trying to stretch a single into a double.

"I think we'll be playing a lot of low-scoring games this year," Torre said. "We're going to have to rely on one or two runs being enough. The kind of defense we showed today is a good complement to the pitching. We have a lot of versatility."

Up next: The Dodgers will start Derek Lowe against the Mets on Sunday at 10:05 a.m. PT at Dodgertown. Eric Stults, Mike Myers, Tanyon Sturtze, Tom Martin, Brian Falkenborg, Mike Koplove and Eric Hull will also pitch. Left-hander Oliver Perez will start for New York.

Bill Whitehead is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.