The Houston Astros designated Carlos Pena and Ronny Cedeno for assignment, and recalled Jonathan Villar from Triple-A Oklahoma City, the team announced after their loss to the Seattle Mariners on Sunday.
Both Pena and Cedeno were disappointed by the move, as Cedeno told Brian T. Smith of the Houston Chronicle that the moved "shocked" him, while Pena described himself as "an Astro til the end." Both players provided Houston with little value offensively in 2013; Pena hit .209/.324/.350 in 325 plate appearances, while Cedeno hit .220/.260/.298 in 155 plate appearances.
Astros manager Bo Porter described the moves to Smith as part of a needed shakeup, while general manager Jeff Luhnow hopes that Villar can provide a similar spark that starting pitcher Jarred Cosart brought to the team.
John Sickels of Minor League Ball rated Villar as the 11th best Astros prospect before the season, and wrote the following scouting report about the shortstop:
Another tools guy like (Domingo) Santana, (Villar) made some incremental progress in Texas League before breaking his hand punching a door. Still plays out of control at times, especially on defense. Would rank higher than Santana on positional scarcity factors, but is a year and a half older.
Villar hit .278/.342/.444 with 31 stolen bases in Triple-A this season. Luhnow confirmed to Smith that Villar will start at shortstop for Houston.