KANSAS CITY – In the midst of his best major league season, the Braves and Ramiro Pena hope it hasn’t ended abruptly due to a shoulder injury.
The versatile infielder will get a second opinion on the injury to his right (throwing) shoulder on Wednesday, manager Fredi Gonzalez said. He wouldn’t say what the first opinion was last week, but Gonzalez sounded as if it hadn’t been particularly encouraging.
Asked if the Braves might lose Pena for the season, Gonzalez said, “I don’t know. He’s going to get another opinion and we’re going to decide how we go about it…. He wanted a second opinion. I think that’s normal.”
Pena, 27, had surgery on the shoulder seven years ago as a Yankees minor leaguers. He was placed on the disabled list Friday, after a few days of rest last week didn’t relieve soreness he began to feel after making a coupe of diving stops in a game two weeks ago.
He’s batted .278 in 97 at-bats this season and already has career-bests with nine extra-base hits and three home runs. His .330 on-base percentage and .443 slugging percentage would also be career highs.
Pena has played second base, third baseman and shortstop, and hit .288 with six extra-base hits in 59 at-bats over his past 31 games. He’s also been one of the Braves’ best hitters in late-and-close situations, with a .357 in 28 at-bats, including a game-winning homer in the 10th inning April 12 at Washington.
Beachy update: Brandon Beachy played catch Tuesday for the second time in three days and could be ready to throw a bullpen session by the end of the week, Gonzalez said.
He was shut down for a week after developing inflammation in his surgically repaired elbow in what was to have been his final rehab start before a planned start in last week’s doubleheader against New York. Beachy, 12 months removed from Tommy John surgery, would likely need at least another couple of rehab starts before he could be activated.
“I would think so,” Gonzalez said. “You can almost bet the house we won’t have him go from throwing a couple of bullpens to throwing in a (major league) game.”
That schedule would presumably assure Beachy couldn’t return until after the All-Star break.
Gattis update: Gonzalez said again Tuesday that he hopes Evan Gattis (strained oblique) could return from the DL at or around the minimum 15 days required, as Freddie Freeman did after an oblique strain earlier this season. But Gonzalez also said he didn’t think Gattis had been cleared yet to resume baseball activities.
If that is accurate, it would seem unlikely Gattis could be ready to come off the DL on July 3, the earliest possible return date.
Puig tops T.P.: Dodgers rookie phenom Yasiel Puig had seven homers and a .442 average before Tuesday in just over since being called up from Double-A, the highest average in history for a player in his first 22 days in the majors (minimum 60 at-bats). The previous best was by current Braves first-base coach Terry Pendleton, who hit .422 in his first 22 days with the Cardinals in 1984. Pendleton finished that season with a .324 average in 283 plate appearances. He went on to post a .270 average in 15 years in the majors, and won the National League MVP award with Atlanta during the Braves’ 1991 worst-to-first season.