Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Peña to try out centerfield in AAA

As expected, Ramiro Peña has been optioned to AAA Scranton to make room for Eric Hinske.

This is not a bad thing. Peña is still a prospect and will clearly benefit--especially in terms of his bat--from playing every day.

What has attracted my eye, however, is Pete Abraham's update in tonight's game post, that Peña will get some time at center field.

The astute among you will know that heretofore Peña had been primarily a 3B-SS-2B defensive whiz kid; if he can play center field then he can very possibly play left or right as well, at least from a defensive standpoint, and increase his versatility.

That Peña will get time at CF means that Austin Jackson--the Yankees' top prospect--will probably find himself playing some more corner outfield.

I asked if this was a reflection on Peña or Jackson; the astute commenter CB had this to say:

It’s all Pena. They must be very impressed with his athleticism, defense and specifically his ability to play balls in the air to try this.

Let’s put it this way – he’s only 23 and has never played in AAA. Rather than concentrating his time at SS they’re willing to challenge him to learn an entirely new position and the third hardest position on the diamond.

And 23 while not old isn’t exactly young to try to pick up a new position like that.

It’s very hard to do. But if he can do it they’ve got a great bench player for the future.

I guess you could say, then, that Peña got the Yankees to open their eyes. And they like what they see.