Giants

Giants

SAN FRANCISCO -- A year and a half after he rode out of Oracle Park on a scooter, Hunter Pence is coming back for his old parking spot. 

The Giants on Friday night announced they have signed the former star outfielder to a one-year, $3 million contract that includes up to $2.5 million in incentives.

Pence previously spent seven seasons in San Francisco, coming over at the 2012 trade deadline and becoming an integral piece in a title run. His speeches that postseason will forever be remembered by Giants fans, and two years later Pence was an All-Star as the Giants soared to a third title in five years.

“We’re excited to welcome Hunter back to the organization”, Giants' president of baseball ops Farhan Zaidi said in a statement. “He provides our club with a great veteran presence and his leadership will be a big asset for our younger players. Hunter’s addition creates depth on our roster and will provide Gabe with a valuable option against left-handed pitching.” 

Pence was once the most durable player in the game, but injuries slowed him down as his five-year contract came to an end. Pence played just 97 games in 2018, batting .226 with just four homers. 

It seemed that Pence was done, and the Giants threw him a massive celebration at the end of that season, giving him a custom scooter and taking to the field as Pence gave one last speech. But he said that day that his career wasn't over, and after an offseason of intense swing work and a stint in the Dominican Winter League, he resurfaced with his hometown Texas Rangers. 

 

Pence batted .297 and hit 18 homers last year, making the All-Star team after winning a job out of camp. He again was limited by injuries and spent most of his time as a designated hitter, but when free agency rolled around, there was interest in a player who will turn 37 in April.

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Pence reportedly had offers from the Padres and Astros, who play in his current hometown, a place where he owns a coffee shop. But the Giants surprisingly had a role for him, and Pence is coming back to a park where he remains wildly popular. He is expected to be a platoon bat in the outfield and serve as a late-innings weapon against lefties for new manager Gabe Kapler.