According to Mark Bowman of MLB.com, Ramiro Pena will be getting another opinion on his injured right shoulder sometime today. As you know, Pena was unable to play recently due to complaints of a sore right shoulder after he hit the ground hard on a dive while playing 3rd base against the Dodgers. After not being able to effectively throw on five days of rest after that dive, Fredi Gonzalez placed Ramiro on the 15 day DL with right shoulder strain, recalling Paul Janish up to help in the absence of Pena. When asked about the decision to get a second opinion for Pena, Fredi said…
The move is we can’t use Pena. Sometimes you want to defend and you can’t, so we decided to DL him. He’s getting all the tests and all that kind of stuff and I’m sure we’ll come up with some kind of diagnosis.
Apparently, Ramiro’s shoulder is not making the progress the Braves had hoped, and so they feel it important to see what another doctor may have to say on the subject. There is a possibility that Pena may have to have shoulder surgery, and that would be a bad loss for Atlanta, and just another in a series of hits to the injury plagued NL East leaders. This wouldn’t be the first issue with Ramiro’s shoulder. In 2007, while playing in the New York Yankee’s farm system, he had to have surgery on the same shoulder after a dislocation from diving into 2nd base. He healed quickly from that surgery, but you now have to wonder whether there were some lingering issues with it.
Braves’ fans have voiced their displeasure often with Dan Uggla, who has been streaky ever since becoming an Atlanta Brave, and I have often said myself that Ramiro Pena should be used considerably more in place of the struggling Uggla. I guess it is sometimes a blessing to a team to have a good utility player that can play multiple positions, but seems to sometimes be a curse to that player when you’re a jack of a lot of things, but a master of none. I will argue that Martin Prado was one of the best, most consistent, and most reliable players that Atlanta has ever had, but being able to play almost every position for the Braves didn’t keep Prado a Brave. Ramiro Pena is another one of those players who is able to play multiple positions, and is what we often refer to as a great utility player, but a player the Braves have simply underutilized in my opinion. He may not be a Martin Prado, but then Dan Uggla is no Martin Prado either!
We will just have to wait and see what the verdict is on Pena’s shoulder, and hope that he won’t have to have another season ending surgery. Paul Janish is good defensively, and while he may not be quite as versatile as Pena, or as good offensively, he can hold down the fort when the Braves need a player to come off the bench and fill a gaping hole. Paul may get more opportunity to do that than imagined if the news is not good with Pena. The upside of that scenario is shaky at best, because while Janish is definitely better defensively than Chris Johnson or Dan Uggla (should he be called on to play those positions often), and his bat is arguably as good as Dan Uggla’s (at any given moment), he is no Chris Johnson at the plate either. All that said, and despite fan complaints, Fredi Gonzalez has proven adept and juggling and shuffling positions to get the job done. We may not always agree with his decisions, but a six game lead atop the NL East is not an accident.
Ramiro Pena has been productive when used by the Atlanta Braves. His carries a .278 BA, along with a .330 OBP and a .443 SLG combined for a .773 OPS, and he is known for his prowess defensively, having played almost every position at one time or another except 1B, Catcher, and obviously pitcher. I know fans all across Braves’ Country are hoping the news is good today with Pena, and as soon as we hear anything, we’ll give you an update.