Pena returns from Classic with spot solidified

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- When the Braves signed Ramiro Pena in December, the assumption was that he would begin this upcoming season as one of Atlanta's backup infielders. Pena has since solidified his spot on the Opening Day roster.

Pena impressed the Braves during the early days of Spring Training before further flashing his potential while playing for Mexico in the World Baseball Classic. The sure-handed infielder recorded three doubles in 13 at-bats during the Classic.

"This was the first time to represent my country," Pena said. "I liked that experience."

Still energized by his experience in the Classic, Pena returned to the Braves lineup as the starting shortstop for Tuesday's game against the Cardinals and went 1-for-2 with a double. The former Yankees prospect is a solid middle infielder who can also play the outfield in emergency situations.

Pena was fortunate to avoid any potential injuries during the benches-clearing brawl that marred Mexico's game against Canada on Saturday.

"It's part of baseball," Pena said. "You have to be there and see what happens. I tried to hold everybody back. Where I was, nobody was throwing punches."

Mark Bowman is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.