Pena lost the backup catcher job battle to Matt Wieters and can now either accept an assignment to Triple-A Memphis or sign with another team, Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com reports. Pena has an opt-out clause in his contract that allows him to be granted a release in order to sign with another team as Grapefruit League play concludes. Pena had a solid spring at the plate, hitting .278 with a double and three RBI over 18 at-bats. The 29-year-old backstop's agent will now survey the landscape over the coming days to see if there is interest from another big-league club in Pena.
Pena (oblique), who went 0-for-3 and threw out a runner in his return to the lineup against the Nationals on Saturday, remains in contention for the backup catcher role, Alyson Footer of MLB.com reports. The fact Pena returned to action Saturday after an 11-day absence still gives manager Mike Shildt a few games to evaluate him before a final decision, one which the skipper said will be made "within a week." Pena had gone 5-for-14 with three RBI over five Grapefruit League games before his injury, so he'd put together a solid body of work that helped him maintain his candidacy during his absence. Notably, both Pena and Matt Wieters are in the same boat with respect to their contracts -- both have opt-out clauses in their minor-league deals that would allow them to become free agents if they don't make the Opening Day roster.
Pena (oblique) will start behind the plate and bat fifth Saturday in the Cardinals' Grapefruit League game against the Nationals. The Cardinals' choice to use Pena at catcher rather than as a designated hitter in his first spring action since March 5 implies that he's moved past the left oblique strain that sidelined him for a week and a half. The 29-year-old will face a stiff test in his return with three-time Cy Young winner Max Scherzer on the bump for Washington.
Pena (oblique) should return to action for Saturday's spring game against Washington, Ben Frederickson of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. As previously anticipated, the 29-year-old backstop will return to spring games over the weekend after recovering from a left oblique strain. Pena was off to a strong start at the dish prior to suffering the injury, going 5-for-14 with three RBI.
Pena (oblique) could be cleared to return to the Cardinals' Grapefruit League lineup by the end of the week, Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com reports. Since suffering a side injury in a March 5 game against the Phillies, Pena has been cleared to resume swinging, suggesting his oblique strain is of the mild variety. The injury has nonetheless damaged Pena's already minimal chances of breaking camp with the big club, as non-roster invitee Matt Wieters looks like the clear frontrunner to emerge as the backup to top backstop Yadier Molina.