KANSAS CITY -- Not that the D-backs needed confirmation, but Wily Mo Pena showed on Tuesday night he can hit a fastball when he clubbed one on a line over the wall and into a fountain in center.
Of course, after that he saw just two more heaters the rest of the night and fanned in his two other at-bats. The D-backs beat the Royals, 7-2, in the series opener.
Will Pena be able to make the adjustment?
"We'll find out," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said. "He's going to have to lay off bad pitches just like everybody else in the big leagues. They'll probably throw those fastballs in counts he wouldn't expect them. You still have to look to your strength, but at the same time you've got to be more selective. He's got to get better at that."
Pena was called up to serve as the team's designated hitter with the D-backs playing nine of the next 12 games in American League parks. While he has played outfield over his Major League career, it does not sound like he needs to pack his glove on the upcoming trips.
"He's probably in a little better shape than he was in Spring Training, but that's not his strength," Gibson said of Pena's defensive ability. "I don't have any plans to play him in the outfield right now. I pretty much am just going to let him hit when he's here. That's my plan. It could change, but that's how I look at it right now."
Pena hit .363 with 21 homers and 63 RBIs in 63 games for Triple-A Reno.
Collmenter itching to face familiar foes
KANSAS CITY -- For his next few starts, rookie Josh Collmenter will not be facing teams that have seen him pitch before.
That would seemingly be an advantage given Collmenter's unique over-the-top delivery and the right-hander is fine with that. It's just that he would like to get a crack at starting against teams that he's started against before just to prove to the critics that he can be successful.
Collmenter has made two starts against teams that he faced previously in relief. The Rockies hit him for five runs (two earned) over 4 1/3 innings while the Giants tagged him for five runs in five innings.
Still, Collmenter is itching for the opportunity again.
"Especially down the stretch when you're talking about playing teams from the division over and over that last month," he said. "I'm looking forward to facing teams in meaningful situations especially for the second time just to show that I can and I'm not just a once through the lineup or a one-time novelty act."
Collmenter knows that there are plenty of people that doubt his ability given his lack of eye-popping stuff, but it only seems to fuel him.
"Everyone is going to have an opinion and think what they want," Collmenter said. "If you let that affect what you do on the field then they've already won so to speak. I've heard a lot of different things over the years, that my arm angle can't be successful, from college coaches not wanting to recruit me and the Draft. As long as I keep doing what I'm doing and control what I can control then I think I'll be able to have success and along the way if I convert some people over to say hey this can work, then that's fine. And if it doesn't and those people are still steadfast in their belief that you have to throw a certain way or a certain velocity then that's fine, too.
"Don't tell me I can't because it's just going to want me to do it more. Just fits my situation a little bit."
Bloomquist, Gibson are fond of Kansas City
KANSAS CITY -- For D-backs infielder/outfielder Willie Bloomquist, his two-year stint with the Royals in 2009-10 did not last long enough.
"I loved my time here," Bloomquist said. "It's a great organization, good people from top to bottom. I can't say enough good things about my time here. They treated me really well, treated my family really well, the people of Kansas City were great. The barbeque is outstanding. My two years here went by really quick."
D-backs manager Kirk Gibson also played for the Royals, though he didn't have the same success that Bloomquist had.
Gibson signed as a free agent prior to the 1990 season with the thought being he would be the team's primary designated hitter. An injury to outfielder Bo Jackson, though, thrust Gibson into a starting role in left and coming off surgery on his hamstring, playing in the outfield on the turf every day was not a good match.
Gibson hit just .236 with 16 homers and 55 RBIs. On March 10 the next year, he was dealt to the Pirates after Hal McRae took over as the team's manager.
"Hal McRae and I had a little run in when I was a rookie with the Tigers, so he didn't like me too much," Gibson said with a smile. "So, I was out of here quickly. I enjoyed playing here. The stadium has always been beautiful. A very relaxing place to play and a good place to live."
Both Gibson and Bloomquist raved about Kauffman Stadium, which was built in 1973 and underwent extensive renovations in 2009.
"It's a fun ballpark to play in," Bloomquist said. "Especially the fact that it's 35-years-old or whatever it is. Obviously, the renovation speaks for itself, but even before the renovation it was nice, I thought. They did a really good job with it and it was built ahead of its time."