OAKLAND -- Royals catcher Brayan Pena, who defected from Cuba in 2000, got up
early -- at about 7 a.m. PT in San Francisco -- because he wanted to watch Ozzie Guillen's news conference in Miami and what he'd say about his controversial remarks about Cuban dictator Fidel Castro.
Pena's conclusion was that the Marlins' manager was sincerely sorry, but that South Florida's Cuban community would be slow to forgive him.
"I really saw somebody that was very regretful, somebody that was in a lot of pain, somebody who knew he'd caused him and his family and a lot of people a lot of pain," Pena said. "And somebody who really believed that he can change, that he learned from his mistake. He was like a piñata.
"This is America, everybody deserves a second chance. That's why I'm proud to be an American, that's why I became an American citizen. This is what a real democracy is, because I lived on the other side -- where you can't explain yourself, where you have to very careful what you say."
Pena, who lives in Miami, feels that Guillen has to follow through on his vow to help those within the Cuban community.
"Some people talk the talk and some people walk the walk," Pena said. "Now is the time for him to walk [the walk], because it's going to take time. For you to clean your image down there in Miami -- and especially right there in Little Havana -- it's going to be tough. "
Third-base coach Eddie Rodriguez, bench coach Chino Cadahia and infielder Yuniesky Betancourt are other Cuban-born Royals.
Rodriguez recalled leaving Cuba and "the struggles and the pain that we had to go through, leaving family and my dad's business and basically our life."
"It's tough." said Rodriguez, who has known Guillen for years. "I don't think Ozzie meant any harm. I feel that way, [but] it's a thorn in the Cuban community's side. I hope it passes -- and it passes in the right way -- and that balance and understanding comes across from everybody."
Guillen received a five-game suspension from the Marlins.
"This is a little bit bigger than baseball," Pena said. "It touches people's feelings and people's lives -- and it was a hard comment from him. But I don't like to talk about [the suspension], because I see the picture bigger than that."
Pena understands how the Cubans in South Florida feel.
"1999 was the last time that I was able to go back to my country. So imagine people 50, 60 years ago like Eddie or [bench coach] Chino Cadahia and those guys," Pena said. "For me, it's been like forever."
Royals shuffle lineup for Game 2 vs. A's
OAKLAND -- Left fielder Alex Gordon was back atop the Royals' lineup on Tuesday night.
Gordon was given a break in Monday night's game against the A's, but pinch-hit in the ninth inning. He struck out to run his hitless start to 14 at-bats through the first four games.
Manager Ned Yost also boosted Alcides Escobar to the second slot behind Gordon, dropping usual No. 2 occupant Lorenzo Cain to sixth behind Mike Moustakas.
"Cain's struggling a little bit, pressing a little bit. Drop him down in the order, take a little pressure off him until he gets it going -- which he will," Yost said.
In the first four games, Cain was 1-for-14. Yost plans to give Cain a break on Wednesday and use Mitch Maier in center field.
Yost: No issue with Royals being aggressive
OAKLAND -- The Royals might have gotten three baserunners thrown out in Monday night's 1-0 loss to the Athletics, but manager Ned Yost has no regrets. He doesn't want his club to play it safe.
"That's one of the neat things about our club ... our kids are aggressive. They do want to play to win, they want to play the game. And it's fun when you have a group of guys that do that," Yost said. "They don't want to be harnessed, so we try to teach them how, when and why -- so that we make the best decisions that we can make. And I don't have any quibbles with any of the decisions they made [on Monday]. They were all calculated, they were all good opportunities to try to pick up a scoring opportunity."
As it happened, the A's defense executed its part perfectly and nailed all three runners -- Jason Bourgeois trying for third after a catch, Eric Hosmer trying to steal third and Jeff Francoeur trying to steal second. Usually, however, Yost feels aggressive daring will prevail more often than not.
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.