07/15/07 12:15 AM ET
Notes: Pena Jr.'s season an enigma
Royals shortstop batting over 100 points better at home
By Dick Kaegel / MLB.com
Just take his home and away statistics.
After going hitless in Saturday night's 6-5 win against the Indians, Pena was batting just .197 (30-for-152) on the road compared to .345 (57-for-165) at Kauffman Stadium.
"Probably I see the ball better at home?" said Pena, clearly puzzled himself. "I don't know. Who knows? It's crazy."
In the field, Pena has 14 errors on the road compared to just one at Kauffman Stadium. He had no answer to that, either.
"I think he's comfortable at home. Obviously, he plays more games there," said infield coach Billy Doran. "Each infield on the road plays a little different. That's a reality. This infield will play different than Boston which will play different than Detroit."
Hitting coach Mike Barnett can't shed any light on the home-away average discrepancy, except that Kauffman's lights are not special, luminary wonders.
"It's just one of those quirky things. I don't think there's any reason to say one way or the other," Barnett said.
Pena did offer one possible reason.
"It's home cooking, I guess," he said.
So give the credit to his wife Laura, who not only tends to 8-month-old Tony Pena III but whips up some delicious Dominican dishes in Kansas City.
"Rice, chicken, pork chops, whatever she feels like cooking," Pena said. "She's a good cook."
Despite the culinary plus, Doran believes Pena's road work gradually will improve.
"As he gets around and sees more, he'll get better on the road," Doran said.
Pena stats, Part II: After the game against the Indians, Pena had not drawn a base on balls in 212 consecutive plate appearances.
That, according to Stats, Inc., is a Royals record. The official statistical agency states that outfielder Mark Quinn went 199 consecutive plate appearances from May 8-Aug. 12, 2001, without a walk.
There was some confusion, however, because the Royals' record book lists Quinn's record as 241 plate appearances. However, that listing is for "games without an unintentional walk" and Quinn was intentionally walked after his 199th plate appearance, then went to the plate another 41 times without a walk. Hence, the 241 figure.
Pena has not been intentionally walked all season. He has just six walks.
"They just throw too many pitches around the plate," Pena said. "I can take that to an advantage and get a good pitch."
That must be true because he was batting .274 with 87 hits, third most on the club. That's been a surprise because his cumulative Minor League average was just .252.
When Pena finally does coax a walk, he shouldn't expect what Quinn got when his walkless stretch ended on Aug. 30, 2001. Upon ball four from the Angels' Jarrod Washburn in the fifth inning, fireworks went off at Kauffman Stadium, a display planned -- it was suspected -- by manager Tony Muser.
Pitcher optioned: When the Royals activated left-hander John Bale from the disabled list on Saturday, they optioned lefty Neal Musser to Triple-A Omaha.
Overall, Musser was in 12 games with a 5.40 ERA. This was his second stint with the Royals this season and his figures were better the second time around -- just three runs in 11 2/3 innings (2.31 ERA).
To clear space on the 40-man roster for Bale, the Royals moved newly acquired pitcher Roman Colon from the 15-day to the 60-day disabled list.
It's in the books: Mark Teahen got into the Royals' record book on Saturday night, but it's not a mark that he will cherish.
Teahen, after getting two hits, struck out against Indians lefty C.C. Sabathia to set a dubious club record. It marked 22 consecutive games with a strikeout for Teahen, eclipsing Calvin Pickering's mark of 21 games set in 2004. Pickering is now playing for the Kansas City T-Bones in the independent Northern League.
Elarton in action: Right-hander Scott Elarton, rehabbing with Omaha, pitched six innings on Friday night in a 6-5 victory over Iowa. He gave up five runs on five hits including two homers. Elarton walked two and struck out four.
"Everything worked a lot better," he said. "The main thing was my fastball command. It was much better."
Elarton hasn't been told when he'll pitch again.
"I'm in a holding pattern," he said.
Royals rundown: Mitch Maier was 3-for-4 with his eighth homer in Omaha's 6-5 win over Iowa. ... Geraldo Valentin's two hits upped his average to .307, but Double-A Wichita lost to Springfield, 13-2. ... Daniel Cortes (2-6) struck out eight in six innings as Class A Wilmington topped Potomac, 7-5. ... Adrian Ortiz was 3-for-5 and extended his hitting streak to 13 games in Rookie Advanced Idaho Falls' 5-4 win over Helena. ... Jake Lane went 4-for-5, raising his average to .381, as Rookie Burlington, N.C., beat Elizabethton, 13-6. ... Justin Huber, on injury rehab, had a homer and a double in Arizona but the Rookie Royals lost to the Cubs, 9-7.
Coming up: The Royals wrap up the three-game series at 12:05 p.m. CT on Sunday at Jacobs Field. Left-hander Jorge De La Rosa (7-9, 5.16 ERA) is matched against Indians right-hander Fausto Carmona (10-4, 3.85).
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.