ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Not one, not two, not three. The Texas Rangers now have four catchers on their 25-man roster.
The Rangers recalled opening day starting catcher J.P. Arencibia from Triple-A Round Rock on Thursday, the same day they made the expected move of activating catcher Geovany Soto from the 60-day disabled list.
Struggling first baseman Carlos Pena was designated for assignment after playing only 18 games in his return to the Rangers.
Soto and Arencibia joined the team for a workout in Toronto, along with catchers Robinson Chirinos and Chris Gimenez. Texas (38-57), with the worst record in the majors, plays the Blue Jays on Friday in its first game after the All-Star break.
Arencibia was optioned to Round Rock on May 20 after hitting .133 in 20 games with the Rangers, 19 of them starts at catcher. He hit .279 with 14 homers and 41 RBIs in 48 games at Round Rock, where he started 20 games at first base while playing the position professionally for the first time. Eight of his last 11 starts at Triple-A were at first base.
Pena hit .136 and two RBIs in 18 games for Texas, including 16 starts at first base, after being purchased from Round Rock on June 24.
Texas has 10 days to trade, release or outright Pena to the minor leagues. He had rejoined the Rangers on June 24, a week after signing a minor league deal — and 13 years after making his major league debut with Texas. He was the 10th overall pick in 1998.
Soto tore cartilage in his right knee late in spring training and is looking to make his season debut with the Rangers after 12 games of rehab the past two weeks with Round Rock and Double-A Frisco.
In 54 games last season for the Rangers, primarily as the backup to A.J. Pierzynski, Soto hit .245 with nine homers and 22 RBIs in 54 games. Soto was expected to be the primary catcher this season before getting hurt in the spring.
The Rangers traded right-handed reliever Jason Frasor on Wednesday, so only the Pena move was necessary Thursday to bring back two catchers.