July 21: The Astros have designated Carlos Pena and Ronny Cedeno for assignment, Brian T. Smith of the Houston Chronicle tweets. Cedeno's departure clears the way for Jonathan Villar, who has been promoted and will be the Astros' new starting shortstop.
Pena was hitting .209/.324/.350, continuing his longstanding trend of struggling to hit for average -- he still takes plenty of walks, but he hasn't posted a batting average above .227 since 2008. He signed a one-year, $2.9MM contract with the Astros in December. Brett Wallace and Chris Carter appear likely to take over much of Pena's playing time at first base.
Cedeno was hitting .220/.260/.298 in 141 at bats. He signed with the Astros in March after being released by the Cardinals. Villar, 22, was hitting .278/.342/.444 for Triple-A Oklahoma City. The Astros acquired him, along with J.A. Happ and Anthony Gose, when they sent Roy Oswalt to the Phillies in 2010.