CLEARWATER, Fla. (AP) - The Atlanta Braves traded shortstop Tony
Pena Junior to the Kansas City Royals for minor league pitcher Erik Cordier after concluding Pena would not make the team's opening day roster.
Braves assistant general manager Frank Wren said the Braves had "at least four teams" inquire about Pena, the son of Tony Pena, the former Kansas City manager.
The Braves made the deal with Kansas City even though Cordier, a right-hander, is recovering from Tommy John surgery.
Wren said "We were able to get something we really liked, a young arm for our future. He's going to have the year to come back from Tommy John and 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 hit .227 in 40 games.
Said Braves manager Bobby Cox: "I hate to see Tony go. ... He's ready to go. He's ready to play in the big leagues right now."
Pena said -- quote -- "I'm sad in a way but happy to get a chance to play somewhere."
Pena hit .342 with a homer and six RBIs this spring.
The 21-year-old Cordier was a combined 4-and-1 with a 2.91 ERA for Class A teams Idaho Falls and Burlington in 2006, He was the Royals' second-round selection in the 2004 draft.
He missed the 2005 season following knee surgery.
(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)