Braves trade Pena to Royals for Cordier

Updated: March 23, 2007, 6:40 PM ET
Associated Press

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- The Atlanta Braves had no room for Tony Pena Jr. on their opening-day roster, and the Kansas City Royals were willing to give the young shortstop a shot at making their starting lineup.

The Braves traded Pena to the Royals for minor league pitcher Erik Cordier on Friday.

Pena will be a candidate to start for the Royals, manager Buddy Bell said.

"Another good young player," Bell said after Kansas City's game against Arizona in Tucson, Ariz., was rained out. "We're going to get him in camp. He's going to play, and then we'll manage the position as we go. We don't have a whole lot of time, but we've got a lot of really good reports on him and we'll see what happens."

Royals shortstop Angel Berroa, the 2003 AL Rookie of the Year, hit only .234 with a .259 on-base percentage for Kansas City last season. Berroa is batting .263 this spring.

Braves assistant general manager Frank Wren said the Braves had at least four teams inquire about Pena, the son of New York Yankees coach Tony Pena, the former Kansas City manager. Wren confirmed the team made the trade after concluding Pena would not make the opening-day roster.

Cordier, a right-hander, is recovering from elbow ligament-replacement surgery.

"We were able to get something we really liked, a young arm for our future," Wren said. "We'll be excited to see him next spring. We thought enough of him that we thought it was worth the wait."

The 26-year-old Pena split the 2006 season between Triple-A Richmond, where he hit .282 in 81 games, and Atlanta, where he batted .227 in 40 games.

"I hate to see Tony go," Braves manager Bobby Cox said. "He's ready to go. He's ready to play in the big leagues right now."

Pena was with the team Friday but did not play against Philadelphia.

"I'm sad in a way but happy to get a chance to play somewhere," Pena said.

Pena hit .342 with a homer and six RBIs this spring training.

Atlanta has Edgar Renteria at shortstop and Chris Woodward as a utility infielder. The team also acquired Pirates minor league shortstop Chris Lillibridge with reliever Mike Gonzalez in the Jan. 19 deal that sent first baseman Adam LaRoche to the Pirates.

The 21-year-old Cordier was the Royals' second-round selection in the 2004 amateur draft and missed the 2005 season following knee surgery.

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AP Sports Writer Bob Baum in Tucson contributed to this report.


Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press

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