6/24/2014 8:45 P.M. ET
Pena rejoices in return to Rangers
By T.R. Sullivan / MLB.com
ARLINGTON -- First baseman Carlos Pena said that he had a "few" opportunities to sign Minor League contracts with other teams, but he chose the Rangers, and it turned out to be his fastest route back to the Major Leagues.
After playing just seven games at Triple-A Round Rock, Pena was recalled by the Rangers on Tuesday to play first base, with Brad Snyder designated for assignment.
Pena was released by the Angels at the end of Spring Training and stayed in shape by working out near his home in Orlando. The Rangers signed him to a Minor League deal on June 17, and he went 8-for-24 with a home run in seven games before being called up.
Pena, 36, hit .201 with a .357 slugging percentage in 249 games over the past two seasons with the Rays, Astros and Royals, but he played 1,363 games at first base and won a Gold Glove for his defense, so he gives the Rangers an experienced defender.
"We heard he was swinging the bat well and playing first base the way he plays first base, which is pretty good," manager Ron Washington said. "We just brought in a first baseman that can play first base, and he has presence. He may be a little old, but he has presence. If they throw something in the wrong place, he can hurt you."
From 2007 to 2011, Pena hit .236 with a .505 slugging percentage while averaging 35 home runs and 97 RBIs per season.
"When I first got the call to come back to this organization, I was extremely excited and very grateful," said Pena, who was drafted by the Rangers in the first round of the 1998 First-Year Player Draft and traded to the A's four years later. "I'm just going to do the best I can, enjoy it as much as I can, work as hard as possible and see what happens. This is where it all began, so it's truly special.
"I had faith something would happen, but I didn't want to force it. I wanted to make sure it was the right spot and the right organization. Being patient ... God placed me in the right place. I'm confident this is the right place."
Alfaro, Gallo representing Rangers in Futures Game
ARLINGTON -- Rangers catcher Jorge Alfaro and infielder Joey Gallo have been selected to play in the All-Star Futures Game on July 13 at Target Field in Minneapolis.
Both were selected to play last season but had to miss the game because of injury. Gallo will play for the U.S.; Alfaro, who is from Colombia, is on the World roster.
Gallo, the 39th overall pick in the 2012 First-Year Player Draft out of Bishop Gorman High School in Las Vegas, has split time between Class A Myrtle Beach and Double-A Frisco, hitting a combined .309 in 71 games with 27 home runs, 64 RBIs and a .720 slugging percentage. In 13 games at Frisco, he is hitting .255 with six home runs and 14 RBIs. The Rangers took him with a pick received as compensation for losing pitcher C.J. Wilson to free agency.
Alfaro, the Rangers' No. 1 prospect as ranked by MLB.com, is playing for Class A Myrtle Beach and hitting .258 with eight home runs, 45 RBIs and a .424 slugging percentage.
Among the current Rangers who were selected to play in past Futures Games are Elvis Andrus, Martin Perez, Jurickson Profar, Tanner Scheppers, Prince Fielder, Michael Choice, Shin-Soo Choo and Neal Cotts.
Major League Baseball, in conjunction with the Major League Baseball Scouting Bureau, MLB.com, Baseball America and the 30 clubs, selected the 25 players on each roster. Players from all full-season Minor Leagues were eligible; each organization is represented. Complete rosters, prospect analysis and rankings can be found at MLB.com/pipeline.
Rangers seeking All-Star push for Beltre
ARLINGTON -- Wednesday is the last day of All-Star voting at Globe Life Park in Arlington. Starting on Thursday and running through Thursday of next week, all remaining balloting will be done online.
The Rangers are hoping for a last-minute push for third baseman Adrian Beltre, who ranked second at his position in the last update, released on Sunday. Beltre had 1,346,957 votes, trailing Josh Donaldson of the Athletics, who had 2,436,771. Beltre entered Tuesday's game with the Tigers hitting .309 with eight home runs and 35 RBIs.
Among outfielders, Alex Rios was 12th, with 742,780 votes, with Shin-Soo Choo sitting in 14th, with 699,751. The three leaders were Jose Bautista of the Blue Jays (3,665,208 votes), Mike Trout of the Angels (3,286,511) and Melky Cabrera of the Blue Jays (1,674,232).
Fans can vote for starters at MLB.com and all 30 club sites -- online or using a mobile device -- using the 2014 All-Star Game MLB.com Ballot Sponsored by Experian until Thursday, July 3, at 10:59 p.m. CT. The 2014 All-Star Game will be played at Target Field on Tuesday, July 15.
Fans may submit up to 25 online ballots, but they can also earn a one-time bonus of 10 additional online ballots. To access these, you must be logged into your MLB.com account when you submit any online ballot. If you do not have an MLB.com account, register on the site in accordance with the enrollment instructions for a free MLB.com account.
The 2014 American League and National League All-Star teams will be unveiled on the 2014 MLB All-Star Game Selection Show during the weekend of July 5-6, with further details to follow on MLB.com. Immediately following the announcement of the AL and NL All-Star rosters, fans can begin voting to select the final player for each league's 34-man roster via the 2014 All-Star Game MLB.com Final Vote Sponsored by Experian. Fans will cast their votes from a list of five players from each league over the balloting period.
The final phase of All-Star Game voting will again have fans participating in the voting for the Ted Williams All-Star Game Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet. During the Midsummer Classic, fans will vote exclusively online at MLB.com via the 2014 All-Star Game MLB.com MVP Vote Sponsored by Pepsi, and their voice will represent 20 percent of the overall vote that determines the recipient of the Arch Ward Trophy.
MLB.com will provide extensive online coverage of the All-Star Week festivities.
The 85th All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX, in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS, and worldwide by partners in more than 200 countries via MLB International's independent feed. ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide national radio coverage of the All-Star Game. MLB Network and SiriusXM will also provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage. For more information, please visit allstargame.com.
Fielding to determine Holland's next step
ARLINGTON -- Hurler Derek Holland, who has been sidelined since undergoing surgery on his left knee in January, is expected to go through another extensive fielding practice this week.
How he performs could determine when he is ready to go on a rehab assignment. If it was up to Holland, there would be no doubts.
"I'm ready to go," Holland said. "That's what I've been saying over and over."
Holland threw 75 pitches in a simulated game on Monday in Arizona before returning to Arlington, but his arm has never been the issue. The Rangers want to make sure he is physically able to field his position, most notably handling bunts to the left side of the mound, planting his leg and making strong throws to first.
"We just want to see where his progress is and then we'll decide after that," manager Ron Washington said.
Holland admitted that his knee is not going to be 100 percent this year. Washington added that the Rangers recognize there will be issues, but they want to make sure they could "live" with them. The Rangers have had more than their share of setbacks with injured players, so they are trying to be careful with Holland.
Once Holland is cleared, he will be sent on assignment. He is up to 75 pitches, but the Rangers want to see him get hitters out rather than just build his endurance. Holland understands that part.
"I don't want to show up here and not be ready to go," he said. "I definitely have to get people out. I can't just get my work in and show up thinking I can help this team."
Harrison hopeful of pitching again
ARLINGTON -- Matt Harrison was back with the Rangers on Tuesday, three weeks after undergoing surgery to fuse a disk in his lower back.
Harrison won't be able to perform any activities for another three months, but he is holding out hope that he will be able to pitch again, even though he has been told that the odds of a full recovery are not good.
"Hopefully, it fuses together well," Harrison said. "I'm done with the back surgeries, and I can move forward [if] it fuses the way it's supposed to and I'm strong enough to go and find a way to adjust to pitch again if I have to."
Harrison draws inspiration from Colby Lewis, who worked his way back to the rotation this season after missing 18 months because of surgery to repair a torn flexor tendon plus an unusual hip-resurfacing operation.
"It's something, too, that nobody's ever had done in baseball before while they were playing, and he made it back, so why not me?" Harrison said. "That's the way I feel. Hopefully, the same thing happens to me and I'm able to get back. Obviously, he's not pitching as well as he'd like to right now, but he's back pitching, and he was out for a long time. His pitching is going to come around. ... He looks great. I've never seen him look that good on the mound."
Moreland undergoes major surgery
ARLINGTON -- First baseman Mitch Moreland underwent ligament-reconstruction and bone-realignment surgery in his left ankle on Monday. The surgery was performed by Dr. Robert Anderson in North Carolina.
Moreland is recovering at his home and is expected to begin the rehab process as early as next week; the Rangers are hopeful that he'll be ready for Spring Training.
Moreland, who has been on the disabled list since June 8, was hitting .246 with two home runs and 23 RBIs in 52 games.
• The Rangers are pushing Nick Tepesch back in the rotation so that Joe Saunders and Nick Martinez can start on their normal four days' rest. Tepesch last pitched on Thursday, against Oakland, but is not scheduled to pitch again until Friday, against the Twins. Saunders will start on Wednesday and Martinez on Thursday against the Tigers.
• The Rangers have also decided to give Yu Darvish an extra day of rest. Darvish pitched on Sunday, against the Angels, and won't pitch again until Saturday, against the Twins, on five days' rest. If the rotation holds, he would have three more starts before the All-Star break. The final one would be the Sunday before the break, thus it would be doubtful he would pitch in the All-Star Game if selected.
• Jim Adduci, who is on the DL with a fractured left pinkie, is expected to be examined on Wednesday and receive clearance to resume baseball activities.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.