LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- When Ramiro Pena arrived for Spring Training the past few years, he had the pleasure of working alongside Derek Jeter. But the former Yankee is now happy to be with the Braves preparing for the added opportunities he will get as a utility player in the National League.
"I think there will be more opportunities to play every day and I think I have a good chance here," said Pena while totaling 180 games and 338 plate appearances with the Yankees over the past four seasons.
The Braves attempted to trade for Pena before acquiring Paul Janish to serve as their shortstop while Andrelton Simmons missed two months last year with a broken bone his right hand. With Janish expected to miss at least the first few weeks of this season while recovering from shoulder surgery, Pena will begin this season as Atlanta's utility infielder.
Because he is out of options and is potentially a slightly better offensive option, Pena will likely remain in that role even after Janish is cleared to begin playing.
"He's not an out," Gonzalez said after Pena recorded two hits in Tuesday's win over the Nationals. "That even adds to his value. He's a guy who can play in the middle of the diamond and when you run him in there he's OK offensively."
Pena, who will play for Mexico in the World Baseball Classic, has hit just .223 with two homers and a .533 OPS in the big leagues. He hit .258 with a .653 OPS in 101 games with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes Barre last year.