Lost amid the all-star headlines yesterday was the news that the Washington Nationals’ beleaguered left fielder Wily Mo Peña was likely headed to the disabled list.
The 26-year-old would-be slugger might very well be the biggest disappointment for the Nationals in a season choc full of disappointments. Touted as an everyday middle-of-the order power hitter when GM Jim Bowden acquired him from Boston, Peña has instead hit an embarrassing .205 this season with just two home runs and 10 RBI.
Now an MRI has revealed that Peña has been playing with a small tear in his left rotator cuff and a frayed labrum in his left shoulder, something the Nationals should have diagnosed much earlier. Bowden pointed to this discovery as “certainly the main reason” that Peña has not performed, but just to be safe, may I suggest that the Nationals made another mistake that could be affecting Wily Mo’s play.
When the Nationals brought Peña here from the Red Sox, they changed his uniform number from 22 to 26, the number previously worn by pitcher Ramon Ortiz.
Surely Wily Mo asked for the number he’d worn while with the Cincinnati Reds, but if he’d been paying attention, he might have noted that the #26 is already owned by the most cursed member of the Nationals for the last 3 seasons: Teddy Roosevelt.
In an organization that has had more than it’s share of bad luck, Teddy has easily been the most snakebitten of all. Until Teddy’s run of bad luck clears up, the organization might think about keeping #26 set aside just for him.
My advice to Wily Mo: Rest that shoulder, and when you come back, ask for a new number.
Photo of Wily Mo Peña courtesy of Nationals blogger Miss Chatter.