PHOENIX -- Wily Mo Pena's numbers with Triple-A Reno are hard to ignore, and with Interleague Play looming, the temptation to promote the slugger might prove too difficult for the D-backs to resist.
Pena is not known for playing good defense in the outfield, but the D-backs are about to embark on a six-game road trip to Kansas City and Detroit, where they will get to use a designated hitter.
It could be a perfect fit for Pena.
The 28-year-old was signed to a Minor League contract during the offseason and has absolutely abused Triple-A pitching. In 59 games, Pena has hit .356 with 21 homers and 62 RBIs. He has reached base at a .431 clip and slugged .739 for an amazing 1.170 OPS (on-base plus slugging).
"It's the way he's doing it," D-backs farm director Mike Bell said. "He's having quality at-bats. Sure he'll swing and miss a few times, but it seems like he's becoming a more mature hitter, a more patient hitter. His walks to strikeouts are reasonable [23 to 45]. The most impressive thing is the kind of person he is. I heard that he was, but I was completely blown away by what he's done for the clubhouse environment there and the young kids."
After the six-game road trip, the D-backs play three games at home, where the DH would not be used, before heading to Oakland for three more with a DH.
Pena has turned it up a notch the last 10 games, hitting .395 with a .452 on-base percentage and an .895 slugging percentage.
Pena has played a little first base to go with left field, but his best position is with the bat in his hands.
"You're getting Wily Mo, you're getting a big bat and a presence in the lineup," Bell said. "He works hard at [defense]."