If you forgot about Wily Mo Pena, you’re not alone. The slugger washed out of the majors after the 2008 season, and making a brief return in 2011. Since then, Pena has been spending his time in Japan, slugging home run over home run in the Japan Pacific League.
To date, Pena has 21 home runs, 52 RBI, and a .245/.357/.520 slash line this season, his first with the Orix Buffaloes. He was invited to the Japanese All-Star Game and absolutely demolished the first pitch from pitcher Shintaro Fujinami. Look at how far this thing went:
(Tip of the cap to Deadspin)
Wily Mo Pena highlights are scant, as he left the majors right before online baseball highlights became a regular part of life. The few that are available show that monster home runs were not exactly a rarity for him.
Over 1,845 career plate appearances in the major leagues, Pena belted 84 home runs, but that was about the extent of his offensive value. He had a meager .250 batting average and .303 on-base percentage along with 559 strikeouts. But, boy, was he fun to watch.
Pirates outfielder Starling Marte is back in the lineup after the team reinstated him from the 10-day disabled list on Saturday. Marte served the bare minimum on the DL after making a rapid recovery from the right oblique strain that sidelined him several weeks ago.
Prior to landing on the disabled list, the 29-year-old outfielder was off to a strong start. He slashed a robust .308/.366/.503 with six home runs, 10 stolen bases and an .869 OPS in 175 plate appearances with the team. This is the first time he’s dealt with an oblique issue, and the first DL stint he’s served since he suffered a bout of back tightness in 2016. While he has yet to prove he can bounce back to his pre-injury production levels, his quick recovery bodes well for a successful return to major-league play.
In a corresponding move, outfielder Jose Osuna was optioned to Triple-A Indianapolis. The move came as somewhat of a surprise, given that the Pirates elected to retain top prospect outfielder Austin Meadows rather than the more established Osuna. Meadows was recalled from Triple-A in the wake of Marte’s injury and has only played seven games at the major league level so far, but he’s already made a strong impression: he went 13-for-29 with three home runs, two stolen bases and five RBI since his call-up on May 18.