If I were you, I wouldn't board a plane with Hayden Penn in the near future. He's become the man of misfortune in the Orioles' organization over the past few seasons. In the span of three years, he's gone from a top pitching prospect to an afterthought, with some odd detours along the way:
-In May 2006, Penn was called up to make his first start of the season. He had to be scratched with appendicitis, and took several months to recover.
-In Spring Training 2007, Hayden twisted an ankle carrying boxes at the team hotel, which set him back about a week. He was later removed from a scheduled start against the Marlins for disciplinary reasons. He had driven from the team's Fort Lauderdale facility to the Marlins' Jupiter locale without his equipment bag, having erroneously assumed that someone else would load it on the team bus. The round trip to retrieve his personal effects did not put him in the team's good graces. He missed half of the season after having bone chips removed from his elbow.
-The O's considered recalling Penn from AAA Norfolk on a few occasions in 2008, and each time he came up with another injury. In August, shoulder stiffness was the culprit. With all of the ups and downs, his minor league performance was subpar: 6-7, 4.79 ERA.
With all of the drama surrounding Hayden Penn since 2006, it's easy to forget that he just turned 24. His best baseball could still be ahead of him, but no one's counting on that. Maybe that's just what he needs.