"I mean, I struck out, but I felt better," Pena said. "I blocked a couple balls in the dirt from [Al] Alburquerque."
Pena could have been behind the plate from the start if the Tigers needed him. With the Twins starting left-hander Andrew Albers, however, Leyland had no reason to rush Pena back, instead giving right-handed hitter Bryan Holaday his second consecutive start behind the plate. Holaday faced Albers at Triple-A Toledo in May. The move paid off, as Holaday homered off Albers in the third inning, the first long ball of his career.
Pena said he thinks he'll be available to start Friday's series opener against the Mets at Citi Field. With no designated hitter in the National League ballpark, Leyland could opt to give Victor Martinez a start at catcher, something he said Thursday he was still contemplating doing for a game to get Martinez's bat in the lineup.
"I'm very seriously thinking about it," Leyland said. "I haven't made a final decision yet."
Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.