John Erardi has a pretty good article this morning on Wily Mo Pena:
Peña knows if he were to markedly improve his outfield play, it would make him more marketable to another team eager to put him in the lineup every day.
He’s getting a chance in center field because Ken Griffey Jr. is hurt (strained right foot). Although Reds right fielder Austin Kearns hasn’t slam-dunked an offensive claim to the third outfield position, his all-around play makes him the more likely everyday player.
“It’s impossible to (duplicate) in practice what you see out there in the game because of the way the ball comes off the bat,” Peña said. “In a game, you have to be so quick on those balls that are so hard hit.”
Peña is making no demands for a trade, mainly because he is a big-leaguer still learning his craft. He’s trying to make the most of this opportunity provided by Griffey’s absence.
I don’t understand why Kearns isn’t playing center field right now. He’s a more natural CF, and he’s certainly athletic enough to handle the position.
Meanwhile, speaking of Kearns, Marc Lancaster has an article about Kearns and how he is trying to finish strong this season:
Injury was not to blame this time. At age 25, Kearns has navigated the year without a trip to the disabled list, avoiding the freak injuries that haunted him the last few seasons. But still, he never was able to settle in and live up to expectations, internal or external.
“It’s been, I guess, an eventful year,” Kearns said with a short laugh that almost sounded sad.
A more appropriate label is one that slips more than once into any conversation with Kearns: frustrating.
“It seems like that’s been the last couple years for me,” he said. “There definitely was a lot of that this year.”
I’m ready for an Austin Kearns season filled with good baseball, instead of the drama of the last couple of years. Next year is the year for Kearns to fulfill his promise as a baseball player.
Blame Chad for creating this mess.
Chad launched Redleg Nation in February 2005, and has been writing about the Reds ever since. His first book, “The Big 50: The Men and Moments That Made the Cincinnati Reds” is now available in bookstores and online, at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and wherever fine books are sold. You can also find Chad’s musings about the Cincinnati Reds in the pages of Cincinnati Magazine.
You can email Chad at firstname.lastname@example.org.