Carlos Pena’s career was given up for dead when the Red Sox released him after the 2006 season. His signing with the Devil Rays was an afterthought, until Pena had a very solid March in the Grapefruit League.
Despite his performance that March, the club re-assigned Pena to minor league camp as one of the last cuts from Spring Training. But, they were forced to bring him back when Greg Norton hurt himself later that day. Pena gave his best Wally Pipp effort in 2007 and never let Norton get the first base job back as he went on to have the best season of his career in 2007, setting career highs in batting average, home runs, runs batted in, on-base percentage, and slugging percentage. His season earned him a ninth place finish in the American League Most Valuable Player voting and a new three-year contract from the front office.
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