Could Pena be more than a pinch-hitter for D-backs?
PHOENIX – Wily Mo Pena has started to become the new cult hero in Arizona as a pinch-hitting specialist for the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Pena since being recalled this month has slugged three home runs including a walk-off home run on Tuesday against the Cleveland Indians.
Pena has been labeled as a poor defensive player which is why he has been relegated to the role of a pinch-hitter, but manager Kirk Gibson is toying with the idea of giving him an opportunity to improve his tarnished defensive reputation.
“He’s going to start working out on the field on this road trip. He’s played out there before, so we’re going to work him out and take a look at it,” said Gibson on the Sports 620 KTAR’s Gambo and Ash show on Wednesday.
The D-backs manager stressed that Pena would only be an option in the outfield despite the team seeming to have a hole at first base.
If Pena proves too much of a defensive liability in the field, it seems Gibson would still like to keep Pena on the team just for his offensive capabilities.
“He’s done very well in the capacity that we brought him up for. He brings an element to us. You get behind, you get him up there and he can pop one and get you back in the game,” said Gibson.
Still, it might be hard for the D-backs to justify keeping a roster spot for somebody just to potentially hit a home run late in games.
“We’ll have to make a decision at some point,” said Gibson.
Let’s hope Pena can demonstrate an ability to be serviceable in the field or continues getting big hits because he has quickly become one of the fan favorites at Chase Field this season.