st. louis — Swinging a bat was just fine for Brad Penny, who hit a grand slam in the third inning. Pitching was another matter.
The St. Louis Cardinals’ right-hander aggravated an upper-back injury from the previous start and had to leave the cushion he created to the bullpen after only three innings of a 9-5 victory over the Los Angeles Angels on Friday night.
The Cardinals were unsure of the severity of the injury and scheduled an MRI exam for today.
“It was something I was trying to deal with between starts,” Penny said. “I couldn’t have pitched that last inning, there was no way. The first inning, I felt incredible. The second inning, I felt OK and the third inning, I started feeling a little worse.”
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Penny, who apparently aggravated the injury on the grand-slam swing, said he didn’t inform the team after his last start in Cincinnati, in which he allowed seven runs on 13 hits in five innings, that something felt wrong.
Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said that wasn’t unusual, that players are constantly judging whether they’re hurt or just sore, but admitted concern.
“My mood stinks, so you’ll have to suffer with me,” he told reporters. “I’m definitely worried. I’d like to find out.”
Penny and the Angels’ Joel Piñeiro, the pitcher he replaced in the Cardinals’ rotation, were both gone after three innings.
Piñeiro (3-5) entered with 17 consecutive scoreless innings but was clubbed for nine runs on nine hits against the team that allowed him to leave as a free agent after a 15-win season. Penny was shaky for the second straight start while giving up four runs on five hits.
“Just overall, it was embarrassing,” said Piñeiro, a former Seattle Mariner. “They just hit me around.”