Manuel Elias Pina Reyes
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 6' 0", Weight 150-215 lb.
He began his professional baseball career in 2005 in the Texas Rangers system after being signed by scout Manny Batista in 2004, hitting .247/.356/.306 in 27 games for the AZL Rangers. Baseball America ranked him as the #12 prospect in the Arizona League, right behind Shairon Martis and Sharlon Schoop. He played for the AZL Rangers again in 2006, hitting .244/.300/.333 in 14 games while rehabbing from right elbow surgery. In 2007, he played for the Clinton LumberKings, hitting a meek .228/.278/.285 in 86 games.
He split 2008 between the Bakersfield Blaze (61 games) and Frisco RoughRiders (23 games), hitting .267 overall. With the RoughRiders again in 2009, he hit .259/.313/.393 in 86 games. He turned eight double plays, tying for the Texas League lead among catchers.
On September 3, 2009, he was traded with Tim Smith to the Royals for Daniel Gutierrez. He was assigned to the Northwest Arkansas Naturals but did not play due to a groin injury before the season came to a halt. He had a .407 OBP that winter for the Tiburones de La Guaira. When he got going in 2010, he played in 91 games in AA and AAA, hitting .252/.310/.393. He was back ay Northwest Arkansas to start 2011, but after 3 games was up with the AAA Omaha Storm Chasers once again. He hit .241/.361/.376 in 56 games at Omaha before getting the call to the big leagues in early August when Matt Treanor suffered a concussion.
Pina made his major league debut with the Royals on August 3, 2011, playing catcher against the Baltimore Orioles. He went 2 for 4 that day but only played 4 games, going 3 for 14 with a pair of doubles, before going on paternity leave and then returning to the minors for the remainder of the year. Heading into 2012, he was expected to compete for the Royals' starting job with another youngster, Santiago Perez, but tore some cartilage in his knee during batting practice in spring training and had to undergo surgery on February 22nd. Ironically, Perez suffered a similar injury three weeks later, leaving the Royals unexpectedly short at the position.