Friday, December 4, 2009


Less than a month after his New York Yankees teammates clinched the team’s 27th World Series championship, Ramiro Pena was taking ground balls at shortstop for the Culiacan Tomateros of the Mexican Pacific League. This is the third winter the 24-year-old Monterrey native has played for Culiacan after having hit .315 in 72 games sin two seasons.

Pena was signed by the Yankees as a 19-year-old in 2005 and worked his way up the system until his major league debut for New York on April 6 as a pinch-runner. Three nights later he singled off Baltimore’s Chris Ray in his first MLB plate appearance. When the Yanks picked up veteran Eric Hinske in a trade, Pena was optioned to Class AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on June 29, but was recalled August 7 and remained with the big club the rest of the season. Pena ended up hitting .287 in 69 games for the Yankees, belting his first major league homer on September 28 off Kansas City’s Luke Hochevar.

While in Culiacan, he’ll have to battle Mike McCoy for playing time at shortstop. McCoy was eighth among LMP batters with a .333 average and a Mex Pac-leading 21 stolen bases after 40 games. Pena was hitting .250 in 16 at-bats after his first four games. For now, McCoy has slid over to play third to make room for Pena at short.

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