Wily Mo Pena’s comeback attempt never quite took hold, as he totaled just 120 plate appearances for the Mariners and Diamondbacks, and now the flawed but powerful 29-year-old has agreed to a two-year contract to play in Japan for the Softbank Hawks.
Earlier this week reports pegged Pena’s contract as being worth around $5 million, so it’s tough to blame him for choosing Japan over trying to stick in American long enough to make $500,000 or so in a season.
Pena has never lost his 30-homer power, going deep seven times in just 113 at-bats this year, but his complete lack of plate discipline and defensive ability have held him back since initial success from 2004-2006.
Softbank are the reigning Japanese champions and it wouldn’t be surprising if Pena puts up some monster numbers. He hit .250 with 84 homers and a .748 OPS in 599 games as a major leaguer, averaging 25 homers per 500 at-bats.
Pirates outfielder Starling Marte is back in the lineup after the team reinstated him from the 10-day disabled list on Saturday. Marte served the bare minimum on the DL after making a rapid recovery from the right oblique strain that sidelined him several weeks ago.
Prior to landing on the disabled list, the 29-year-old outfielder was off to a strong start. He slashed a robust .308/.366/.503 with six home runs, 10 stolen bases and an .869 OPS in 175 plate appearances with the team. This is the first time he’s dealt with an oblique issue, and the first DL stint he’s served since he suffered a bout of back tightness in 2016. While he has yet to prove he can bounce back to his pre-injury production levels, his quick recovery bodes well for a successful return to major-league play.
In a corresponding move, outfielder Jose Osuna was optioned to Triple-A Indianapolis. The move came as somewhat of a surprise, given that the Pirates elected to retain top prospect outfielder Austin Meadows rather than the more established Osuna. Meadows was recalled from Triple-A in the wake of Marte’s injury and has only played seven games at the major league level so far, but he’s already made a strong impression: he went 13-for-29 with three home runs, two stolen bases and five RBI since his call-up on May 18.