The Big Apple and the New York Yankees are thankfully in Ramiro Pena‘s rear view mirror. Good riddance to the Yankees and the American League. Pena has found a perfect fit with the Atlanta Braves in the National League.
Ramiro Pena has a smug grin on his face as he talks about playing in the National League with the Atlanta Braves. His game is perfectly suited to the double-switch, late inning substitutions that are integral to the senior circuit brand of baseball.
“Personally, I’ve gotten more chances here,” Pena said. ”I’ve gotten a chance to play almost every day with the double switches. I get more chances here without the DH.”
Pena is off to a solid start this season, hitting .286, with a .352 on-base-percentage, and a surprising .460 slugging percentage. Those are all well above the numbers that he totaled while playing parts of the past four seasons with the Yankees. He says he feels comfortable on the Atlanta Braves team, and his goal is to stay long-term.
Many fans prefer the American League DH system to the National League where the pitcher bats. But what playing in the National League has done for Ramiro Pena, is given him a chance to display his versatility. Earlier in the year, Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said that if Pena had been in the National League his whole career, he would be a household name.
When asked about Gonzalez’s praise, Pena chuckled and said, “You never know, this is my first year in here, and so far I feel great. I feel like a National League player.”
While some players struggle to adjust when they change leagues, Pena has made it look easy. He credits his success to studying opposing pitchers on video, and picking up things from talking with his teammates. Then when it gets to the seventh inning, his concentration intensifies, and he says he stays loose and ready.