SARASOTA, Fla. – One member of the Orioles will be getting a World Series ring soon. Francisco Pena, who played eight games for the Kansas City Royals last year gets a ring.
Even though he got one, he wanted something more, a chance to play, and when he was traded to the Orioles from the Royals immediately after Steve Clevenger was sent to Seattle, he was happy about it.
“It was a good opportunity for me to find a better spot for my career.
“I’m not saying that we don’t have real good catching here. They’ve got great catching here as well with [Caleb] Joseph and [Matt] Wieters, but with a guy like Salvador Perez, who likes to be in the lineup every day and likes to catch every day. He’s an iron man, I think. He doesn’t get tired. He likes to be in there.”
Perez played in 142 games last year.
Pena is the son of longtime major league catcher Tony Pena, who formerly managed Kansas City and is currently a Yankees coach.
“It’s a big impact on my career. I learned everything, my catching. My whole career has been with my dad. In the offseason, I work out with him and I do all the little things that you need to do to get better I do with him,” Pena said.
The 26-year-old speaks with his father each day, but he’s trying to downplay that the Orioles and Yankees are in the same division.
“We’re both very professional,” Pena said. “We don’t even talk about baseball. We talk about how his grandkid is doing.”
Every year, Pena came from the Dominican Republic to whatever city his father was working in, and he grew up in the clubhouse. His favorite memory was being in the Cleveland Indians clubhouse and took a special liking to Orioles great Eddie Murray.
“And I have some connections with the Orioles now,” Pena said with a laugh.