Pena, Torrealba, Tracy among Angels' cuts

Pena, Torrealba, Tracy among Angels' cuts

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Catcher Yorvit Torrealba, corner infielder Chad Tracy and first baseman Carlos Pena were granted their unconditional release by the Angels on Sunday morning. The three veteran non-roster invitees were able to ask out of their Minor League contracts if not on the 40-man roster by then, and neither had any interest in starting the season in the Minor Leagues.

"Chad, Carlos and Yorvit -- they're pros and they can still play," manager Mike Scioscia said. "I'm sure they're going to find a fit somewhere. They're tough decisions. A lot of it has to do with the guidelines of March 23 really being a day to make a decision, so you can't play it out as long as you could before."

The Angels -- who also reassigned left-handed starter Wade LeBlanc to the Minor Leagues -- have 38 players remaining in camp, including three non-roster position players fighting for a spot off the bench.

John McDonald, who must be paid an extra $100,000 to be kept off the 40-man roster starting on Tuesday, looks like the favorite to be the utility infielder. Brennan Boesch, who can opt out of his deal next Sunday if he has an immediate Major League opportunity, is perceivably behind J.B. Shuck and Collin Cowgill for the backup outfield spot. And Ian Stewart, whose opt-out isn't until after Spring Training, remains an intriguing option as a left-handed hitter who can play both corner-infield spots and perhaps some second base.

"But the key for Ian is going to be really the level of offense he can bring to our club to see if he becomes a fit," Scioscia said of Stewart, who's batting .257 (9-for-35) with a homer this spring. "We'll be looking at it this week."

Torrealba, Pena and Tracy have a combined 3,320 games of Major League experience -- and all three feel like they have more left in them.

Torrealba, always a long shot because Chris Iannetta and Hank Conger are basically solidified in a platoon, indicated on Saturday that he had no interest in accepting an assignment to Triple-A Salt Lake: "I feel like I can keep playing in the big leagues. I already went through Triple-A, 12, 13 years ago. I'm pretty happy with what I've done in my career up to this point, I feel like I can keep providing more -- but in the big leagues, not [in the Minors]."

The Angels probably would've liked to take a longer look at Tracy, a 33-year-old left-handed hitter who has extensive experience at first and third base. But the deadline worked against them.

"I feel like I've showed I can play," Tracy said. "My at-bats have been good, I've played three different spots on defense [including left field], I feel like nobody has really overmatched me at the plate, and I feel like I've competed."

Pena averaged 34 homers and 97 RBIs from 2007-11, but he hit just .197 in a full season with the Rays in 2012 and was released by the Astros last July. He never really had a chance with the Angels once Albert Pujols proved he's healthy enough to play first base every day, and didn't help matters with only five hits and 14 strikeouts in 36 Cactus League at-bats.

Pena has no interest in retiring, though, for one simple reason.

"I love the way it feels when you square up a ball, when you make a good play in the field," Pena, who's represented by Scott Boras, said as he packed up his stuff on Sunday morning.

"I'm going to go home and enjoy my family, and at the same time, I'm going to stay ready. I'm expecting something good to come, so I can go out and have fun at the plate and on the field. I feel very satisfied with the work I've put in, the way I've trained, and I'm very eager to put what I've learned into practice."

Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for Read his blog, Gonzo and "The Show", and follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.