Pena making smooth adjustment to first base
LOS ANGELES -- Until All-Star Joey Votto went down with a left quadriceps strain on May 16, catcher Brayan Pena had only logged four games in the big leagues at first base. On Wednesday, Pena started there for the seventh time in his last nine games.
Not only is Pena learning a new position and staying on top of his normal spot behind the plate, he also took a five-game hitting streak into the series finale at Dodger Stadium, going 6-for-17 (.353) during the stretch. He's had no trouble handling everything that's come his way lately.
"I try to separate one thing from another," Pena said. "I've learned that the last four or five years behind home plate. It doesn't matter what you do offensively, you still have to call a good game and be that quarterback your team needs. With that mentality, it's not as hard for me to focus on first base and my hitting."
Pena has handled first base well and had yet to commit an error there.
"I feel better," Pena said. "I'm still working every day early with [coach] Freddie Benavides and getting a lot of information. I still have to learn the hitters. It's not the same as when you're behind home plate."
Said Reds manager Bryan Price: "I'm impressed by the way he's handled himself. He's such a team-first guy. That's part of his DNA. It's what allowed him to be such a good support player. ... He's playing it aggressively and constantly wanting to learn. He's always looking in the dugout making sure his positioning is where it needs to be. He's doing everything he can to be as good as he can be in a short amount of time."