(Re)call-up: Wily Mo Pena
Photos and Text by Jordan Megenhardt
In honor of Wily Mo Pena getting called up from Reno and going yard in his first Major League game as a D-back, we are taking a little look back. During Spring Training, Pena made an extremely compelling case for himself to make the 25-man roster. He hit .341 with three home runs and seven RBI in 41 at-bats during spring and then went on to hit .363 with 21 home runs and 63 RBI in 237 at-bats at Triple-A Reno.
During spring, Pena’s attitude was great. He worked very hard to fit in with his teammates and even harder to take care of business on the field.
He put on incredible demonstrations of power during batting practice before exhibition games began. Players and coaches would stop and watch in awe as Pena launched balls over the practice field walls and into parking lots. Many people, even teammates and coaches wondered if his home run derby-like display would continue outside of the batting cage.
Once games started, Pena’s bat just got hotter and hotter. He was given significant playing time and came through consistently at the plate. The only knock on him was his glove. He worked hard in the outfield but with his gigantic frame, you can imagine how tough it is to track down or charge fly balls.
Despite his minor shortcomings in the outfield, he was having fun with his success at the plate. You could tell that his teammates and coaches appreciated his effort and attitude. Not only was he having fun, he was fun to watch, and photograph.
During photo day, Pena (pictured with D-backs Team Photographer Jon Willey) enjoyed himself despite the demanding early morning schedule. He was very easy to work with and even joked around with a few of the photographers and staff.
As spring concluded, Pena and Gerardo Parra battled it out for the final spot in the outfield. Parra ended up nabbing the job but everyone suspected that Pena and his bat would make some contributions in a D-backs uniform eventually. Clearly, everyone’s suspicions were correct when he homered in Kansas City during his first game with the D-backs.
For more on Wily Mo Pena and his D-backs debut, check out the post about him over on the D-blog