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Royals acquire shortstop Tony Pena Jr. from Atlanta

Royals acquire Pena from Atlanta

KANSAS CITY -- The Kansas Royals have acquired shortstop Tony Pena Jr. from the Atlanta Braves for minor league right-handed pitcher Erik Cordier. To make room for Pena on the 40-man roster, the Royals placed reliever Joe Nelson on the 60-day Disabled List.

Pena, the son of former Royals manager and current Yankees coach Tony Pena, made his Major League debut last season with the Braves, appearing in 40 games. Pena, who is celebrating his 26th birthday today, spent a majority of the 2006 season with Richmond (AAA). He hit .282 (84-298) in 81 games for Richmond, recording 12 doubles, four triples, one home run and 23 RBI while stealing 12 bases in 15 attempts. He was originally called up to the Braves in April of last season and appeared in six games before being optioned. He returned to the Braves for the remainder of the season on July 29. While with Atlanta, Pena hit .227 (10-44) with two doubles, one home run and three RBI.

The 6-foot-1, 180-pounder is a career .252 hitter in seven minor league seasons with the Braves after being signed as a non-drafted free agent on July 21, 1999. The native of Santiago, DR, has made a steady climb through the Atlanta system, recording his best season in 2004 with Greenville. That season, the right- handed hitter batted .255 with 22 doubles and a career-high 11 home runs. Known as a strong defender, the shortstop committed just 14 combined errors in 121 games in 2006, including just one in 43 total chances at the Major League level.

Cordier, 21, was selected by the Royals in the second round of the 2004 draft. In three seasons, the 6- foot-3 right-hander has made 21 starts, recording a 6-5 record with a 3.81 ERA. The resident of Sturgeon Bay, Wisc., Cordier split his 2006 season between Idaho Falls (R) and Burlington (A), compiling a 4-1 record with a 2.91 ERA in 10 starts before missing the remainder of the season after undergoing Tommy John surgery on his right elbow. He missed the entire 2005 season with a knee injury.

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