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MIA@CIN: Penny's solid outing against the Reds

On July 28, 2004, at Sun Life Stadium in Miami, Brad Penny surrendered three runs over five innings in a loss to the Phillies.

It was the right-hander's last start as a Florida Marlin. Two days later, he was traded to the Dodgers.

In the 10 years since, Penny made stops in San Francisco, St. Louis, Boston and Detroit. But last weekend, the veteran, who was a part of the Marlins' 2003 World Series title team, rejoined the club in Cincinnati and made a successful return to the Majors in a one-run victory over the Reds.

On Thursday, Penny will pitch for the first time at Marlins Park when Miami takes on Arizona in the opening contest of a four-game set -- more than a decade since his last home appearance for the Marlins.

"It should be exciting," said Penny, who will face off against 26-year-old D-backs right-hander Chase Anderson, who is 7-4 with a 3.06 ERA on the season. "It's a great group of guys here. They gave me an opportunity to start my career. I'm towards the end of it now. They gave me an opportunity to come out here and pitch at this level. I'm very thankful and I'm going to make the best of it."

Much has changed since Penny last wore a Marlins uniform. In 2012, the team changed its name to the Miami Marlins, moving into a retractable-roof ballpark and wearing uniforms with a different color scheme.

Nonetheless, Penny is grateful for a chance to pitch again with the Marlins, the team that gave him his first big league opportunity in 2000.

"I've got a lot of great memories in Miami," Penny said.

Anderson will try to make his own memory in Miami after beating the Marlins at Chase Field on July 7. That was the first of five straight quality starts for the right-hander, who allowed one run on four hits over six innings in a 5-3 win over the Rockies his last time out on Friday.

"It's huge, especially to get the team off on the right foot, just to go out there and do my job, get the team deep in the game and let the hitters take care of the rest," Anderson said after the victory.

D-backs: Players to test injuries during live BP on Friday
Several injured D-backs will test their respective injuries on Friday, when shortstop Chris Owings (left shoulder strain) and outfielder Cody Ross (left calf strain) will take batting practice off left-hander Matt Reynolds, who underwent Tommy John surgery in September.

Owings, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list on June 29, and hasn't played in a game since June 25, will be the first batter Reynolds has faced since the procedure.

"He's progressing," manager Kirk Gibson said of Owings. "Continuing to swing, taking batting practice."

There is still no timetable for the return of any of the injured players. Ross tried to run the bases last Saturday to test the injury, but he still felt some discomfort.

"They just kind of moved [Ross] back a little bit," Gibson said. "There's really no further damage, we're just not ready to proceed with the bases yet."

Marlins: Season turning from marathon to sprint
After Game 120 of 162, the Marlins find themselves on the cusp of contending in the National League East.

After taking the series against the Cardinals, they're on the heels of the Braves for second place in the division. They're also within striking distance in the NL Wild Card race.

Manager Mike Redmond, a member of the Marlins' 2003 World Series title team, knows from personal experience what it takes to reach the postseason. Down the stretch, it requires focus and execution.

"This is a six-week run right now to try to make the playoffs," Redmond said.

What players have done to this point is not necessarily relevant for where they hope to reach.

"You could be hitting .150, but have the best six weeks of your life and help us get to the playoffs," Redmond said. "It's really that simple. It doesn't matter where you are right now. It's what you can do from here on out. That's the important thing."

Worth noting
• The Marlins are set to reinstate All-Star starter Henderson Alvarez (right shoulder inflammation) from the disabled list on Saturday to face the D-backs. The right-hander threw a bullpen session on Wednesday.

• Marlins reliever Dan Jennings is making progress while on the seven-day concussion list. The lefty, who was struck on the side of the head by a line drive last Thursday at Pittsburgh, is symptom-free. He played some catch, but there is no specific timetable for when he will be ready to return. Comments