BOWIE -- Hayden Penn left no doubt about his arm strength last night in a rehabilitation start for the Double-A Bowie Baysox at Prince George's Stadium. The 21-year-old right-hander buzzed a 96 mph fastball down the middle on his first pitch, then broke the webbing of catcher Raul Chavez's mitt on the second.
But Penn's command was shaky in his first appearance since going on the disabled list May 23 after an emergency appendectomy. He walked two batters and surrendered a two-run home run in a 35-pitch first inning, then exited after a 1-2-3 second that left him close to his pitch count of 50.
"I was a little off and wasn't in sync, but that's going to come with pitching more," Penn said after throwing 43 pitches in a no-decision against Harrisburg, which fell to Bowie, 10-7. "Getting to the plate, my delivery was a little off, but I look forward to being a lot better next time."
The location of Penn's next assignment isn't certain, but Orioles executive vice president Mike Flanagan said it will take at least "a couple more starts" before the team considers recalling him.
Penn allowed a single to leadoff hitter and former Oriole Tim Raines Jr., who stole second and third. Kory Casto pulled a 3-0 fastball over the right-field wall to put Harrisburg ahead 2-0.
Penn walked the next two hitters and gave up another single, but got out of the inning by making Rich Lane chase an 0-2 curveball that darted below the strike zone.
"His velocity was good but everything was happening like he wanted to get it over with," said Flanagan, who watched from behind home plate with vice president Jim Duquette and director of scouting Joe Jordan. "It's not like riding a bike. You've got to get back out there and work the pitch count back up. The good news is that he's healthy."
Penn said he was probably pitching as well as ever when he went on the DL, but understands he's better off easing back into that form than rushing back.
"It's been a process and it's been long, but I'm looking forward to having a couple more games, being ready to actually compete and [then] getting some games that mean something," he said. "I'll get back there. I'm not worried about it."