C Brayan Pena expected to return to Tigers on minor-league deal

January 9, 2018

Hoping to pad their catching corps, the Tigers will announce as early as Tuesday that a name from their division-winning days is returning.

Brayan Pena, who on Sunday turned 36, has accepted a minor-league contract, according to a person familiar with the Tigers plans who requested anonymity as the Tigers wait for formal medical data.

Pena played in 71 games for the Tigers in 2013 as a backup to regular catcher Alex Avila. He batted .297, with four home runs and a.713 OPS and was 1-for-3 against the Red Sox in the 2013 ALCS.

Pena has not played in the big leagues since 2016, when knee surgery held him to six games with the Cardinals. He has also played for the Reds, Braves, and Royals.

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Pena last season played in 38 games for Triple A Omaha, a Royals affiliate, batting .274, with a .607 OPS.

A switch-hitter, Pena is 5-foot-9, 240 pounds, and has 12 years of big-league time. His career numbers: .259 batting average, .299 on-base percentage, .351 slugging percentage, and .650 OPS, with 12 home runs.

Pena is a native Cuban who defected to the United States in 1999.

The Tigers view him as organizational depth behind James McCann and John Hicks. They have also signed ex-Cubs catcher Derek Norris to a minor-league deal.