Pena was getting sick of losing ... literally

MIKE RUTSEY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 7:53 AM ET

Maybe the last straw for Tony Pena came in the ninth inning of Tuesday's game in another painful loss for the scuffling Kansas City Royals.

Down two runs, Angel Berroa opened the inning with a double. But when Mike Sweeney followed with a routine fly to shallow centre, Berroa strayed halfway between second and third and was easily doubled off after Vernon Wells made a catch.

In the Royals dugout, Pena looked pained.

Later that night -- after a 3-1 win by the Blue Jays -- Pena handed in his resignation as Royals manager. The Royals announced that bench coach Bob Schaefer would take over the managing duties on an interim basis. It marked the first managerial change of the season.

Schaefer, 60, managed the Royals for one game on an interim basis in 1991 between the firing of John Wathan and the hiring of Hal McRae.

"We are not playing well," Pena told the Kansas City Star after the loss Tuesday night dropped their record to 8-25, the worst start in Royals history. "It's tough to go to the ballpark and lose game after game. I haven't been eating. I haven't been sleeping. I don't want to get sick."

General manager Allard Baird said a permanent replacement would be found as quickly as possible, but will not rush into a hasty decision.

"We'll take as long as we need to hire a new manager," Baird said.

"The timetable to fill this position is secondary to finding the right individual to manage this ball club."

Before yesterday's stinker against the Jays, Schaefer appeared confident and relaxed.

"It's not the kind of situation I like to be put in but I said I'd do it," Schaefer said.

"I'm as much at fault here as anybody."

Schaefer confirmed that the losing was getting to Pena.

"Tony called me last night," Schaefer said. "I'm not surprised, it was eating him up. Managers lose confidence like players do and Tony took it personal.

"He's as good a person as I've ever met in baseball. He worked hard but unfortunately it didn't work out."

Schaefer is hopeful the worst is behind the Royals.

"I'm confident we can play better," he said.

"I think better things are ahead."


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