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Dodgers ready for reunion with Penny

Dodgers ready for reunion with Penny

SAN FRANCISCO -- The chances that former Dodgers pitcher Brad Penny would set off fireworks with Dodgers third-base coach Larry Bowa in a start against his former team on Sunday diminished greatly on Saturday when Penny and Bowa spoke privately at AT&T Park.

The two had exchanged zingers via the media during the spring, a bitter leftover from an argument they had in the clubhouse last year when Penny, hampered all season by shoulder problems, cut short a simulated game.

"Better to talk to him than do it in the paper," said Penny.

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Nonetheless, Penny smiles when asked if he's fired up about facing his former team in the game that will be televised by TBS, with Chip Caray handling the play-by-play, joined by analysts Buck Martinez and former Dodgers pitcher David Wells.

Penny has already made two winning starts for the Giants with a 1.20 ERA since gaining his release from the Red Sox, and now he can play spoiler against the Giants' rival and the club he couldn't wait to leave last season.

The Dodgers backstop who caught Penny most of the time said he "can't wait" to face him Sunday.

"It's always fun facing somebody you played with before," said Russell Martin. "Knowing the competitor he is, I want the opportunity to do something good against him, just for bragging rights. He's going to bring his "A" game. Just knowing what drives him, he's going to want to pitch well. He'll have that desire and energy and he'll give his best effort."

Penny's days with the Dodgers were numbered from Spring Training of 2008, when management rejected his request to guarantee a 2009 option for $9.25 million. Penny spent the rest of the season bouncing on and off the disabled list, going 6-9 with a 6.27 ERA and making only 17 starts.

"Seeing the last couple of games, we know the ability he has," said Dodgers manager Joe Torre. "I'm sure there will be some emotion for him, the fact that he played for us. He has good stuff. When he's able to do what he wants, he's a handful. When you come over and jump into a race, I think emotion carries you for a time."

Torre, who partnered with Penny on a racehorse last year, said he had "a fine relationship" with the pitcher, but had not talked to him since last Fall's Breeders' Cup at Santa Anita, after which the Dodgers bought out the option for $2 million and Penny signed with Boston as a free agent.

"He was hurt," Torre said of Penny's time with him. "He started for us Opening Day, and he was never at full strength. When he was up to pitching physically, he went out and worked at it. I didn't have him a long time. He was gone most of the year."

Pitching matchup
LAD: RHP Chad Billingsley (12-9, 3.93 ERA)
Billingsley didn't have typical velocity with his fastball and he fell behind early to the D-backs during his last start. But relying on a sharp breaking ball, he kept the game close enough for the Dodgers to pull out a victory after he was removed. Still, he allowed four runs in six innings, hasn't won since Aug. 18 or pitched longer than six innings since July 5.

SF: RHP Brad Penny (9-8, 5.15 ERA)
This matchup will be intriguing, to say the least. Penny excelled for the Dodgers from 2006-07, posting a 32-13 record, making the All-Star team both years and finishing third in the NL Cy Young Award balloting in 2007. But he endured shoulder problems in 2008, wasn't re-signed after a 6-9 finish and was openly criticized by Dodgers coach Larry Bowa, among others. So far, Penny has found new life with the Giants, allowing two runs and eight hits over 15 innings.

Tidbits
The Dodgers have one more win than they had all last year. ... Casey Blake was 2-for-3 with two walks and is 4-for-6 with a homer and three RBIs in the series. ... Hong-Chih Kuo, Ronald Belisario and James McDonald followed Vicente Padilla on Saturday with a scoreless inning apiece. McDonald struck out two. ... Manny Ramirez completed a triple on Saturday with a belly-flop into third base, then scored on a wild pitch. ... The Dodgers were 5-for-15 with runners in scoring position on Saturday.

Tickets
 Buy tickets now to catch the game in person.

On the Internet
 MLB.TV
 Gameday Audio
•  Gameday
•  Official game notes

On television
• PRIME, TBS

On radio
• KABC 790, KHJ 930 (Español)

Up next
• Monday: Dodgers (Jon Garland, 9-11, 4.23) vs. Pirates (Daniel McCutchen, 0-1, 4.85), 7:10 p.m. PT
• Tuesday: Dodgers (TBD) vs. Pirates (Zach Duke, 10-14, 4.02), 7:10 p.m. PT
• Wednesday: Dodgers (Hiroki Kuroda, 6-6, 4.00) vs. Pirates (Kevin Hart, 4-6, 4.86), 12:10 p.m. PT

Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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