Hunter Pence is coming home, potentially.
The Texas Rangers signed the former Arlington High School and UT Arlington star to a minor-league contract with an invitation to spring training. Pence, a former All-Star outfielder, is a 12-year veteran who turns 36 on April 13.
The Rangers appear to have their starting outfield set, but Pence could fill a bench spot and serve as an example as the kind of player manager Chris Woodward wants the young players to be.
“A long track record of being one of the elite teammates in the game, and a very decorated player and winning player,” general manager Jon Daniels said. “From a standpoint of pedigree, makeup and the way he prepares and goes about the game, just his style of play, is consistent with what Woody and his staff and messaging to be an all our players to be about.”
Pence was drafted in the second round of the 2004 draft by the Houston Astros and has also played for the Philadelphia Phillies and San Francisco Giants. He was hampered by a thumb injury last season and batted only .226 with four home runs, but he played winter ball this off-season.
“There aren’t a lot of people that are that decorated that are willing to do that,” Daniels said. “He got kind of re-energized by it. Just hearing him talk, it was exciting.”
The Rangers also announced that they have signed budding two-way player Matt Davidson to a minor-league deal. His focus will be the infield early in camp before the Rangers start to let him attempt pitching.