The Atlanta Braves are already preparing for the worst in the case of utility infielder Ramiro Pena. Pena, who injured his right shoulder on June 9 and has been out since, is looking to get a second opinion and may need season-ending surgery, braves.com reports.
Pena originally injured his shoulder and had surgery while playing for the New York Yankees' farm system in 2007, but he landed awkwardly June 9 at Dodger Stadium while diving to field a groundball. Fredi Gonzalez didn't reveal what the initial diagnosis was, but a second opinion is generally not a good sign.
The Braves have relied heavily on Pena as both a defensive replacement in the infield and a pinch-hitter. He has hit .278 with three homers in 97 at-bats while playing excellent defense all around the infield.
Assuming Pena will be out a significant amount of time, the Braves will likely look to deal for another utility infielder not named Paul Janish, mainly because Janish can't hit for his life. Braves.com notes just how important Pena is in replacing Chris Johnson defensively at third base in late game situations.
"According to FanGraphs, Johnson's -28.5 UZR/150 defensive rating matches Milwaukee's Aramis Ramirez for the 45th-worst mark among all third basemen who have played at least 100 innings this season."
Since Atlanta traded Juan Francisco, Johnson's 22 games at third base haven't gone so hot defensively. He's hit .320, but he has also committed four errors for a .907 fielding percentage.Tags: Atlanta, Atlanta Braves, Baseball, Chris Johnson, MLB, Ramiro Pena