Pena was reassigned to minor-league camp on Tuesday, MLB.com's Jeffrey Flanagan reports. He was not believed to be a serious threat to Drew Butera for the backup catcher gig, and indeed Pena will begin the year offering organizational depth at Triple-A.
Pena agreed to a minor-league deal with the Royals on Tuesday, Rustin Dodd of the Kansas City Star reports. Pena's deal includes an invite to major-league spring training, where he'll presumably compete with Drew Butera for backup catching duties behind primary backstop Salvador Perez. Butera's presence on the 40-man roster confers him an advantage over Pena, but the 35-year-old does at least have familiarity working in his favor after previously spending parts of four seasons in the Royals organization. The switch-hitting Pena was appeared in nine games at the big-league level for the Cardinals in 2016, going 2-of-13 at the dish.
Pena was released by the Cardinals on Monday. He was recently designated for assignment and the two sides opted to part ways so that Pena could pursue another opportunity. Pena typically straddles the line of replacement level player, and could get an opportunity with a team in need of catching depth, although he is unlikely to serve in more than a reserve role.
Pena was designated for assignment on Monday. The Cardinals needed to clear a spot on the 40-man roster after signing reliever Brett Cecil to a four-year deal, and Pena was a logical casualty. He is obviously behind Yadier Molina and was recently passed on the organizational depth chart by Carson Kelly. Look for Pena to serve as catching depth at the Triple-A level if he remains in the organization.
Pena (knee) will begin a rehab assignment at High-A Palm Beach on Friday, Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com reports. Pena's season has been filled with injuries, so much so that he's only played in four games. During his limited action, he's managed to go just 1-for-8 at the plate. Upon his activation from the DL, Pena will return to his role as Yadier Molina's backup.
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