GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Perhaps Brad Penny's chances of returning to a major league roster can be enhanced by changing roles.
The veteran joined the Chicago White Sox on a minor-league contract this offseason and received an invite to major league camp. He will be 37 in May, and has 14 years of wear and tear as a major leaguer, so starting again will have its challenges.
Penny, who has 319 career starts, did have four relief appearances with the Miami Marlins last season (he also started for them four times), and he appeared out of the bullpen 22 times for the San Francisco Giants in 2012. He did not appear in the major leagues in 2013.
The White Sox figure to have more bullpen opportunities than starting options, but Penny has his sights on the bigger prize.
“I’m better off as a starter,” he said. “The older you get, the harder it is to get loose. I need to know I’m starting at 7 o’clock.”
Manager Robin Ventura thinks Penny can handle either role. The two were actually teammates for Ventura’s final season in the major leagues with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2004.
“I think he can do anything really,” Ventura said. “He’s not coming in here with just demands he has to be a starter and only pitch on Thursdays. He’s willing to do anything there is to be on a big league roster.”