Ever since All-Star first baseman Joey Votto went down with a quad injury, catcher Brayan Pena has become a regular in the Cincinnati Reds lineup at first base. Logging just four games at first base in his career, Pena has appeared there in eight of his last nine games.
"I'm still working every day early with coach Freddie Benavides and getting a lot of information," Pena said of the position change. "I still have to learn the hitters. It's not the same as when you're behind home plate."
Not only has he made a smooth transition to first, but he has also been able to produce at the plate. After collecting two hits in last nights 4-0 loss, Pena extended his hitting streak to seven games. In that span, Pena is batting .458 (11 for 24) with two runs batted in and three runs.
"I try to separate one thing from another," Pena said talking about juggling all of the changes. "I've learned that the last four or five years behind home plate. It doesn't matter what you do offensively, you still have to call a good game and be that quarterback your team needs. With that mentality, it's not as hard for me to focus on first base and my hitting."
"I'm impressed by the way he's handled himself," said Price. "He's always looking in the dugout making sure his positioning is where it needs to be. He's doing everything he can to be as good as he can be in a short amount of time."
While its most likely Votto will be returning to the lineup within the next couple weeks, it will be interesting to see if Pena can find his way into the lineup. If he remains hot, Price may have some tough decisions to make.
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