The clubhouse looked different to Francisco Pena, but it felt the same.
Pena, summoned from Class AAA Omaha on Tuesday to fill a need at catcher, walked through a Royals clubhouse where he hung out as a young teen as the son of then-manager Tony Pena.
“It’s way nicer now,” Francisco Pena said. “It’s very modern, but it’s nice to part of it as a player.”
Pena is up because starting catcher Salvador Perez aggravated soreness in his right hand during Monday’s loss to the White Sox.
To make room for Pena, the Royals sent second baseman Johnny Giavotella back to the minors. Royals manager Ned Yost said the team kept Pedro Ciriaco because his versatility. Ciriaco, set to start at second on Tuesday, can play either middle infield position. Giavotella is strictly a second baseman.
Brett Hayes was scheduled to start for Perez on Tuesday.
Pena had spent six seasons in the Mets organization, and he’s looking to make his major-league debut.
“It was a great experience growing up around here,” said Pena, who recalled taking batting practice at the K as a 12-year-old with his dad pitching.
That wasn’t Pena’s only fun at the ballpark.
“Guys used to tie me up,” Pena said.
Tony Pena was the Royals manager from 2002-05, and the family ties continued with another son, Tony Jr., who spent two seasons with the Royals as a shortstop.
Francisco Pena was hitting .240 in Omaha of the Pacific Coast League with enticing power. His on-base plus slugging percentage was .849. He has homered nine times in his last 23 games.
“The guys were calling me PCL Pena on our team,” Pena said. “It’s fine. I’m not trying to hit them. I’m just trying to put a swing on the ball, and they were going out.”