Seeking help at a position that has been decimated by injuries, the Texas Rangers on Tuesday signed free agent first baseman Carlos Pena to a minor-league contract.
The Rangers said that Pena was report to Triple A Round Rock either Tuesday or Wednesday, but he was given no guarantees when or if he will be promoted to the majors.
After losing Prince Fielder (neck) and Mitch Moreland (ankle) for the season, as well as first-base candidates Kevin Kouzmanoff (back) and Jim Adduci (finger), the Rangers have used Brad Snyder and Donnie Murphy at first base.
Neither had played the position until this month.
“We’ve got four first basemen on the DL,” general manager Jon Daniels said. “We’ll bring him in to hopefully help the Round Rock club and maybe become an option for us down the line.”
Pena hasn’t played since spring training, but has been working out in Florida and last week worked out at the Rangers’ spring training facility in Arizona.
“He’s not an option in the short-term,” Daniels said.
Pena, who was originally drafted by the Rangers in first round of the 1998 draft, hasn’t played in the majors since September and played only 89 games last year with Houston and Kansas City.
Pena is a left-handed hitter with 285 career homers but a .233 career average and 1,566 strikeouts in 13 seasons. He played in spring training with the Angels, batting .139 (5 for 26) with no homers and two RBIs before he was released March 23.
“He can play first base,” manager Ron Washington said. “He’s always been a swing-and-miss guy, but he’s also been able to catch some stuff.”
Pena can opt out of his contract Aug. 1.