Wily Mo Pena, he with the remarkable .190/.190/.548 line this year, is getting his first start in left field for the Diamondbacks on Sunday.
Manager Kirk Gibson recently said he had no plans to play Pena in the outfield, but something changed his mind. Pena had appeared in 16 games since his callup June 21, but all nine of his starts came at DH. Since interleague play ended a week ago, he’s gone 1-for-4 off the bench, which his lone hit leaving the ballpark.
For the season, Pena is 8-for-42 with five homers, no walks and 18 strikeouts. Hence, the slugging percentage that’s nearly three times his batting average.
Pena played 25 games in left field for Triple-A Reno this season and committed just one error. Still, he was always an awkward-at-best outfielder in his youth, and injuries have robbed him of some mobility since his days with the Reds and Red Sox.
Newsday’s Marc Carig reports that the Mets may move Asdrubal Cabrera to second base when he returns from the disabled list. Cabrera has been on the disabled list since June 13 with a sprained left thumb, but he’s expected to be activated on Friday.
Cabrera, 31, last played second base in 2014 with the Nationals. He has played shortstop exclusively as a Met the last two seasons. Jose Reyes would continue to play shortstop if the Mets were to go through with the position change. Cabrera would displace T.J. Rivera, who has been playing second base in place of the injured Neil Walker.
In 196 plate appearances this season, Cabrera is hitting .244/.321/.392 with six home runs and 20 RBI. He has made 11 defensive errors, which is tied for the third-most among shortstops behind Tim Anderson (16) and Dansby Swanson (12).
Brewers closer Corey Knebel set a modern major league record for relievers to start a season, as Thursday’s appearance marked his 38th consecutive appearance with a strikeout. He set down the side in order in the ninth inning, striking Josh Bell out to start the frame.
Aroldis Chapman held the record previously, recording a strikeout in his first 37 appearances of the season in 2014 with the Reds.
Knebel, 25, has flown under the radar despite having an incredibly good season. He moved into the closer’s role in mid-May when Neftali Feliz, now a free agent, struggled. After Thursday’s appearance, Knebel is 12-for-15 in save chances with a 0.96 ERA and a 65/17 K/BB ratio in 37 2/3 innings.