With Luis Sojo displaced after the hiring of Larry Bowa, the Yankees might be adding former Royals manager Tony Pena to Joe Torre’s staff, writes the NY Daily News’ Sam Borden.
There are several advantages to bringing in Pena, who won the 2003 AL Manager of the Year award in Kansas City but stepped down in May after a difficult start. First, the Bombers are looking for a Latino presence on the staff since former third base coach Luis Sojo is not expected to be with the major league club in 2006. Sojo, who will be replaced by former Phillies manager Larry Bowa, has expressed interest in becoming the manager of the Class-A Tampa Yankees because that is where he lives, and he likely will be accommodated.
Sojo was very popular with the Spanish-speaking players on the Yankees and had a particularly good relationship with Robinson Cano. Joe Torre often used Sojo to help gauge the rookie’s emotional status, so there is the hope that Pena might develop a similar chemistry.
The second benefit to adding Pena is that the Bombers currently are without a specialized catchers coach. Bench coach Joe Girardi worked with Jorge Posada, John Flaherty and the other catchers during spring training and continued that responsibility during the season, but he has left to become the manager of the Marlins.
Another benefit, unmentioned by Borden, is that with Sojo having already refused a demotion to coach at 1st, Pena is a natural for the position. If reports out of K.C. are to be believed, who would know more about how to get to first base?