The Tampa Bay Rays are determined to find affordable trade deadline help as they try to keep pace in the AL wild card race.
According to Jon Morosi of MLB.com, the Rays have asked the Texas Rangers about the availability of DH Hunter Pence, who is enjoying a resurgent season in Arlington.
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) July 22, 2019
Pence is hitting .290 with 15 home runs in a surprising comeback year that saw him make the American League All-Star team. The 36-year-old recently returned to action after missing about a month with a groin problem. He’s on a one-year deal, so if Texas opted to move him, the price would likely not be prohibitive. That perfectly suits the Rays’ approach to “responsibly” adding at the deadline.
Hunter Pence has been a big part of the Texas Rangers’ surprising success in 2019, but he could be sidelined after hurting his groin on Sunday.
Pence was pursuing a fly ball when he pulled up limping and left the game. The Rangers announced he has tightness in his right groin, and will undergo further evaluation on Monday.
Hunter Pence left with tightness in his right groin. He will be further evaluated on Monday.
— John Blake (@RangerBlake) June 16, 2019
Pence has had a surprising resurgence with Texas this season, hitting .292 with 14 home runs. He’s played a big part in the surprising Rangers occupying a Wild Card spot, and they can’t really afford to lose him for an extended period of time. At this point, though, it’s just too soon to tell how much time he’ll miss.
You can’t always draw much from spring training statistics. The hitters are usually ahead of the pitchers, and the star players are generally more focused on working on process and physical fitness than actually getting results. The sample sizes are small, and there are plenty of reasons a good spring isn’t a solid indicator of a good season to come.
That said, there are guys who are fighting for roster spots and looking to impress managers and coaches, and teams do factor in spring training performances when making key roster decisions. It’s far from irrelevant, and it can certainly set players off on the right foot for a strong year ahead. Here are ten players who are impressing so far in spring training.
10) Jacob deGrom, P, Mets
The biggest name on the list, deGrom looks like his usual strong self in spring training. That’s not nothing, as many pitchers in particular use spring to test out pitches and work on things without really worrying too much about the results. deGrom is doing that, but he’s getting results anyway to the tune of 15 strikeouts and just two walks in 12 innings. He looks poised for another excellent season, and the Mets should probably get that contract extension done or face the consequences.
It is safe to say Hunter Pence is a gamer. If you need further evidence of that, his response to taking a foul ball off the face should convince you.
In Saturday’s game against the Washington Nationals, the Giants outfielder fouled off a pitch that bounced up and hit him just below the right eye. In fact, he got drilled so hard, you could immediately see the seams of the baseball imprinted on his face.
YOU CAN SEE THE SEAMS OF THE BASEBALL IN HUNTER PENCE'S SKIN pic.twitter.com/R3Y5SF3VA2
— Justin Russo (@FlyByKnite) August 6, 2016
Pence even managed to stay in the game after taking the shot.
On Monday, Pence gave us another look at the eye two days after the impact, and it’s not pretty.
I forget that I have a black eye and I scare people pic.twitter.com/ftG7nk6UpZ
— Hunter Pence (@hunterpence) August 8, 2016
Pence has never been one to let a little injury get him down. He’s not going to be bothered by a black eye.
The San Francisco Giants are probably used to all the breaks falling their way in even years. That’s not quite the case this time around.
According to a report by Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle on Friday, Giants outfielder Hunter Pence is expected to undergo surgery on a fully torn hamstring tendon and miss eight weeks of action.
#sfgiants leaning toward surgery for Pence. Out 8 weeks.
— Henry Schulman (@hankschulman) June 3, 2016
Pence hamstring tendon torn completely from the bone. #sfgiants
— Henry Schulman (@hankschulman) June 3, 2016
Buster Posey’s good friend was batting .298/.375/.486 with seven home runs and 36 RBIs in his age-33 season. All is not lost though for the Giants, who currently are comfortably atop the NL West with a record of 34-22. While they may have to turn to right fielder by committee for the next two months as Pence recovers, the Giants have enough punch in their lineup to hopefully maintain their divisional perch at least until he returns.
Hunter Pence is expected to miss 6-8 weeks after suffering a broken left forearm when hit by a pitch on Thursday, but the spark plug outfielder is not letting the injury get him down.
Pence promises to be back from the injury soon and thinks something positive can come out of it.
“I think it’s going to end up being a great blessing,” Pence said of the injury via the San Jose Mercury News’ Andrew Baggarly. “I think so.”
The one downside Pence envisions?
“Saddest part is I can’t really comb my hair anymore, so I apologize for what you have to look at.”
He must be the only guy I know who throws with his right hand and combs his hair with his left. Then again, styling one’s hair is a two-hand deal, so maybe it will be tricky.
Pence also had a cool exchange with pitcher Corey Black, who hit him with the pitch that broke his forearm.
@CblackCHC It happens my friend. Thanks for the concern, it's a part of the game we love. No slowing down!
— Hunter Pence (@hunterpence) March 6, 2015
I need Pence to show me how to do my hair.
Hunter Pence, the voice of the 2014 San Francisco Giants, had a pretty awkward exchange with Erin Andrews after his team won Game 1 of the World Series on Tuesday night. When Andrews said that Pence told reporters the theme of the pregame speech would be “there’s nothing to fear,” he had to make sure she got her facts straight.
“Well, that wasn’t the message,” Pence said. “And I wasn’t the spreaker, it was actually (Giants closer Santiago Casilla). His whole thing was, ah…”
Andrews, clearly rattled by Pence correcting her, then interrupted and insisted that he said “there’s nothing to fear” was the theme as the Giants were set to take on the Royals, who hadn’t lost a game in the postseason prior to Tuesday.
“No, I said make your peace with the king of kings and go out there and enjoy it,” he said. “My bad, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to correct you there. Casilla just said to believe. I guess that’s more of the theme — believe, have vision.”
Andrews ended the interview by thanking Pence for correcting her and saying, “You know I love it.” It was the second time in less than a minute that she said “I love it.”
Yeah, so, that was awkward.
Video via The Big Lead