Tigers release first baseman Pena

TAMPA, Fla. -- Carlos Pena was unconditionally released
Sunday by the Detroit Tigers after the first baseman struggled
during spring training.

Pena batted .160 with one home run in 50 at-bats in exhibition

He split last season between Detroit and Triple-A Toledo. He hit
.235 with 18 homers in 79 games with the Tigers and .311 with 12
homers with the Mud Hens.

Pena signed a $2.8 million, one-year contract that wasn't
guaranteed and will receive $688,525 in termination pay.

The Tigers acquired him from Oakland in 2002 with
Jeremy Bonderman and Franklyn German for Jeff Weaver, and he showed
flashes of promise but struggled for stretches at the plate.

Pena began last season as the starting first baseman, but was
sent down to Toledo with a .181 batting average on May 31. After
being recalled Aug. 17, he hit .286 with 15 homers with 30 RBI in
38 games.

"If he would've hit like he hit the last six weeks of the
season, we would've found a spot for him," Tigers president and
general manager Dave Dombrowski said before a Sunday exhibition
game against the New York Yankees.

Pena's career average is .243 with 85 home runs -- 50 in August
or later -- and 240 RBI in 489 games since making his major league
debut with Texas in 2001. He led Detroit with 27 homers and was
third with 82 RBI two years ago.

This spring, he was beaten out of a roster spot by first baseman
Chris Shelton and designated hitter Dmitri Young.

Pena went into manager Jim Leyland's office and asked where he
stood with the team early Sunday morning.

"I told him, 'As we speak, you're not on my 25,'" said
Leyland, referring to his 25-man roster. "I wasn't going to give
him a run-around.

"I think he's going to be successful and I hope he is. I don't
think he's going to be unemployed very long."

A message seeking comment was left with Pena.