The year is 2020 and Hunter Pence is batting fourth in the Giants' lineup, one spot behind Pablo Sandoval. Somehow, no lies were told in the previous sentence.
Pence made his spring training debut Monday and immediately made his presence felt. The 36-year-old hit a sharp ground ball to center field in his second at-bat, scoring first baseman Wilmer Flores in the top of the third inning. Pence's single also moved Sandoval to third base.
Pence RBI single pic.twitter.com/gnb67i4njY— John Shea (@JohnSheaHey) March 2, 2020
Pence spent seven season in San Francisco, from 2012 to 2017. The Giants gave him an emotional farewell in front of their home fans after the final regular-season game of the 2018 season. But after a comeback season with the Texas Rangers last year, the Giants signed Pence to a one-year, $3 million contract on Feb. 7.
The four-time All-Star twice played all 162 games for the Giants. That won't be the case this year, though.
Pence is expected to hit against left-handed pitchers and be a valued bat off the bench. He hit .327 with a 1.015 OPS and eight homers against lefties over 48 games for the Rangers last season.
“Hunter fills an important hole for us on our team," Giants general manager Scott Harris said on KNBR's "Murph & Mac Show" on Friday. "He helps us run out a very formidable lineup against left-handed pitching. He’s also familiar with our ballpark and brings leadership skills we think are going to complement our young core."
The Giants welcomed Pence back for his power and mentorship of a young roster. It's clear from his spring debut, fans can't wait to see him back in San Francisco.