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Sports

March 25, 2014

As Vohleh starts career, Pena hopes to continue his

TEMPE, Ariz. — While one local athlete is looking ahead to a pro career, another is hoping to extend his career in a different sport.

Haverhill’s Carlos Pena, who signed a minor league deal with the Angels in the offseason, was released Sunday and is looking for a job.

Pena, 35, hit .139 (five for 36) with 14 strikeouts in 20 spring games and was released along with veteran catcher Yorvit Torrealba and infielder Chad Tracy. All three had opt-out clauses that allowed them to become free agents if they weren’t added to the 40-man roster by Sunday.

“It’s always a tough time of spring,” manager Mike Scioscia said. “Chad, Carlos and Yorvit — they’re pros, and they can still play. I’m sure they’re going to find a fit somewhere.”

Pena, who has 285 career homers in 11 years, lingered long after his release to exchange hugs and handshakes with numerous players and coaches. He signed in the offseason knowing that first base was firmly occupied by Albert Pujols, who is in the third year of a 10-year, $240-million deal.

With Pujols, who missed the final two months of 2013 because of a left-foot injury, showing he is fully capable of playing first base on a regular basis, the smooth-fielding Pena knew he wouldn’t be a good fit for the Angels.

“Though I really desire to be on the team, I totally understand the situation,” Pena told the Los Angeles Times. “I’m very grateful that Albert is healthy. That’s what it comes down to.”

But Pena, who split 2013 between Kansas City and Houston, has no intention of retiring.

“I feel too good,” he said. “That’s not even an option right now. I love the way it feels when you square up a ball, when you make a good play in the field. I’ll continue to stay ready and look forward to playing and being successful.”

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