Friday, May 13, 2011

WILY MO PENA NAMED PCL'S TOP HITTER A SECOND TIME

Maybe the start of major league inter-league play next weekend will help Wily Mo Pena.

Arizona has not yet given the hefty veteran a major league opportunity this season, but it is not keeping the 29-year-old from continuing to punish opponents.

Pena, who spent about half of last season with Bridgeport, leads all of minor league baseball with 13 home runs in just 29 games for Reno, and the Aces star has been rewarded with his second selection of the young Pacific Coast League season as Player of the Week.

The right-handed hitting slugger, who likely is somewhat handicapped since he is not outstanding defensively at either first base or the outfield and the National League does not use the designated hitter within its league, is hitting .366 with 34 runs batted in. He is making southpaws pay to the price of a .444 average although eight of his home runs have come against right-handers.

Pena hit .341 (14-for-41) with three homers in 18 games with the Diamondbacks during spring training.

ACTIVE MAJOR LEAGUE COUNT AT FOUR

While the Atlantic League had its roster of players wearing major league rosters increased to five only days ago when southpaw Mike O'Connor (Southern Maryland) joined the New York Mets and catcher Rene Rivera (Camden)was called up to Minnesota, it has been trimmed back with right-hander Nelson Figueroa (Long Island) being outrighted to Oklahoma City by the Houston Astros. He had strugged with an 0-3 record and an 8.69 ERA as the No. 5 starter early this season.

Stephen Drew (Camden) remains a fixture as Arizona's shortstop and Jay Gibbons (Newark and Long Island) is one of the Los Angeles Dodgers' outfielders. Infielder-outfielder Erick Almonte (Long Island) remains on Milwaukee's disabled list.

TRIO CUT BY MAJOR LEAGUE ORGANIZATIONS

Three former Atlantic Leaguers have been dropped from major league farm systems in recent days. Lancaster's Jon Huber, who logged some time as a major league non-roster invitee during spring training, was dropped by the Dodgers.

The Chicago White Sox activated longtime major leaguer Daryle Ward from the Charlotte disabled list, then released him. He had hit 14 homers and driven in 79 runs while hitting .286 for Newark last season. Detroit released corner infielder Cesar Nicolas (Southern Maryland), who hit .279 with seven homers and 38 RBI over 70 games in Double-A last season.

All three players had been on Triple-A rosters this year.

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