Pena isn't happy waiting for chance to start for Reds
By Hal McCoy
Dayton Daily News
CHICAGO | Wily Mo Pena said it calmly — didn't demand a trade, didn't pound his spikes on a podium, didn't threaten to turn over the postgame meal table.
That doesn't mean he is happy sitting. He's not. He wants to play and manager Jerry Narron has said, "I wouldn't want players who are happy if they aren't playing."
Pena wonders where it will lead, this four-outfielders situation where Austin Kearns is playing right field most of the time and Pena is playing some right field and a game or two in left field.
He is surprised the Reds didn't trade an outfielder, either him or Kearns.
"My agent told me there were a couple of teams interested in me (Washington, Chicago Cubs), but the Reds wouldn't do it," Pena said. "I would like them to tell me what's going on. They don't tell me anything.
"I know Kearns could start for another team and I could start for another team. This situation is not good for me. I want to play every day and it is tough to play every day in this situation.
"It's tough to play one day and not play the next, tough to get comfortable. I was 1 for 3 (Sunday) and feeling good, now I'm not in (Monday's) lineup.
"I have to wait and see because there is nothing I can do about it," said the 6-foot-3, 245-pounder who is hitting .263 with 14 homers and 35 RBIs in 213 at-bats.
"I don't feel good about this and next year we can't have four guys who can all play and start in the outfield, and I know they have to play Ken Griffey Jr. I don't want this (situation) next year. I hope something is done."
No celebrating yet
For a long period, Narron has said, "I hate it that I haven't been able to get starts for (infielder) Ray Olmedo."
Narron said today is the day — Olmedo at second base for a resting Ryan Freel, but as Narron said, "Like (former Texas manager) Johnny Oates used to say, 'It isn't written in see-ment.' "
Olmedo smiled when asked about it and said, "He has told me that before and it hasn't happened, so I'll get excited when I see my name on the lineup card."
Olmedo is hitting .333 with 27 at-bats in 22 games. He has started only two games since his June 28 callup from Class AAA Louisville and his last start was July 9.
"We'll see what happens," Olmedo said. "You have to wait for your time and I've been waiting. That's what I need ... to play in games."
Shortstop Felipe Lopez gets Wednesday off with Rich Aurilia filling in, although it, too, is not written in see-ment.
Switch at the top
The flip-flop had more to do with matching up against pitchers than it did the fact that Ryan Freel and Felipe Lopez entered Monday's game a combined 0 for 33.
Narron switched leadoff hitter Freel, a right-hander, to second in the order and moved Lopez from second to leadoff.
"When Lopez is in the two-hole and we have (left-handers) Ken Griffey Jr., Adam Dunn and Sean Casey all lined up, it gives the opposing manager a chance to bring in a left-handed relief pitcher with Lopez batting," Narron said. "This way we might get one more at-bat against a right-hander or Freel might get an at-bat against a left-hander.
"And maybe this will stir them up a little bit, considering the last couple of days they haven't done a lot," Narron added.
Todd Coffey is 24, but wants to be an old-school throw-back type player, "Which is why I listen to everything veterans Kent Mercker and David Weathers tell me and everything they say in the bullpen," he said.
"When I was a kid I used to go to old Atlanta/Fulton County Stadium in the early 90s when Mercker was pitching for the Braves," Coffey said.
Coffey is from Forest City, a one-horse town in North Carolina and Mercker told him, "You were drafted by the Reds in the 41st round, but they wanted to draft you in the first round but your folks didn't have a telephone and couldn't get hold of you."