Right-hander throws about a dozen pitches

VERO BEACH, Fla. -- Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Brad Penny, who is considered key to the team's starting rotation this season, had his first bullpen session Monday since suffering a rare nerve injury to his right arm late last season.

The right-hander threw about a dozen pitches, although they were more like tosses in a game of catch. Penny said it was his idea to go to the mound and downplayed the session.

"I just wanted to get up there and pitch," he said, adding the pitches were thrown at less than half effort. "I'll probably do it again Wednesday, but I might do it tomorrow. I didn't plan on doing it (today), so you never know."

Penny said he won't start exerting himself on the mound until his body feels right but added that Monday's session felt comfortable.

Pitching coach Jim Colburn said it was too early to tell what shape Penny's arm is in.

"It was just the first bullpen workout of many," Colburn said. "If you're asking me to judge what I saw, that's like asking me to judge a rain storm from a single drop. We won't know (what shape his arm is in) until he gets up to 70 to 80
pitches in a game situation. Right now I can't judge his viability for the season."

If Penny is healthy this year, he would give the Dodgers what they hope will be four solid starters with Jeff Weaver, Derek Lowe and Odalis Perez.

Penny was acquired last July from Florida in the Paul Lo Duca trade. He had an outstanding Dodgers debut, throwing eight innings. But he threw just 3 1/3 more before suffering the nerve injury that sidelined him for the last month of the season and the National League division series.

Pitchers Ryan Ketchner and Orlando Rodriguez are now the only two hurlers who are under no-throw orders. Both are coming off surgeries to their throwing arms.

Meanwhile, first baseman Hee Seop Choi reported to training camp on Monday, becoming the first starting position player to show up at Dodgertown this spring. Choi joined a handful of non-roster invitee position players who have already reported.

Wednesday is the official reporting date for all position players. The team expects only one late arrival in free-agent Japanese player Norihiro Nakamura. Nakamura is having trouble securing a visa and the team said it doesn't know when he will be able to report.