ARLINGTON, Texas -- Carlos Pena, who has played for eight teams and been around 14 years in the big leagues, was called up from the minors Tuesday to help a slumping Rangers team, his second stint with the team in his long career.
Pena went 0-for-4 in his debut Tuesday but was 2-for-5 with a home run Wednesday night batting out of the No. 6 spot in the Rangers' lineup. It was Pena’s first homer at Globe Life Park since Game 3 of the 2010 ALDS when he was playing for Tampa Bay.
“Absolutely, just a great feeling,” Pena said of his return to the majors despite an 8-6 loss to the Tigers on Wednesday. “It may get old, but only by the grace of God that I’m here, and I cherish every single moment and every single time I can contribute that maybe I will enjoy it.”
Manager Ron Washington said he’s not worried about Pena finding his stroke. After all, Pena finished in the top 10 in MVP voting twice and remains a dangerous hitter.
But in Wednesday's loss, Pena failed to deliver twice with runners in scoring position, including in the ninth inning when he struck out as the tying run to end the game. The Rangers were 4-for-13 overall with runners in scoring position.
“I thought he made some good pitches,” Pena said of his at-bat against Joe Nathan in the ninth. “My plan was not the right one, obviously.”
Washington said he’s open to keeping the left-handed hitting Pena in against lefties long-term, he just needs to see what he can do in the short term.
Pena is just happy he’s getting another change to produce and trying to keep his emotions in check.
“It’s a big challenge, I’m not going to beat around the bush with that," Pena said. "Sometimes you get all this excitement going and you want to perform and you want to hit the baseball, and sometimes it works against you. Pitchers will use that aggressiveness against us. It’s so important to stay calm and to manage your emotions and keep them under control. “