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Pena set for season-ending shoulder surgery

Braves' third baseman will have torn labrum repaired by Dr. Andrews

KANSAS CITY -- Ramiro Pena proved to be a key contributor off the bench for the Braves through the first two months of the season. But the valuable utility player will spend the remainder of this year recovering from right shoulder surgery.

Pena held out hope of avoiding the surgery until his visit with Dr. James Andrews on Wednesday. Andrews will repair Pena's torn labrum during a surgical procedure scheduled for Thursday.

"Every team is going to have injuries and the team that can survive those injuries is going to be there at the end," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "We have plenty of candidates that you feel comfortable with that can do that job."

The Braves were expecting to receive this confirmation when they placed Pena on the disabled list last Friday. Pena's shoulder has bothered him since he landed awkwardly on it while making two diving stops at third base during a June 9 win over the Dodgers.

Pena's right shoulder was surgically repaired after he dislocated it while sliding into second base playing in the Yankees' Minor League system in 2007.

The Braves will have to find a way to replace the switch-hitting Pena, who has batted .278 with three home runs and a .778 OPS in 97 at-bats this season. Along with serving as a reliable pinch-hitter, Pena has also proven to be a valuable defender at each of the infield positions.

With Pena out of the picture, Tyler Pastornicky will be among those players asked to fill the void. But this development could give the Braves even more reason to attempt to find a a third baseman before next month's Non-waiver Trade Deadline.

While Chris Johnson owns a team-high .322 average, his defense at third base is a concern. The Braves inserted Paul Janish as a late-inning defensive replacement at third base during Tuesday night's 4-3 win over the Royals.

According to FanGraphs, Johnson's -28.3 UZR/150 ranks as 49th-worst mark among all Major League third basemen who have played at least 100 innings this year.

Mark Bowman is a reporter for
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