Popular OF Hunter Pence returning to Giants

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SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – Former fan favorite Hunter Pence is returning to the San Francisco Giants, agreeing to a contract that will give the young club a veteran presence in both the outfield and clubhouse in a season of big change ahead.

The Giants announced Friday night they signed Pence to a one-year, $3 million deal. He can also earn up to an additional $2.5 million in various roster and performance bonuses.

Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi said Thursday he expected to make roster additions before early next week when the team begins spring training.

Pence will provide some stability as the Giants move into 2020 with new manager Gabe Kapler and a coaching staff that is entirely new aside from longtime coach Ron Wotus working at third base.

“We’re excited to welcome Hunter back to the organization”, Zaidi said in a statement announcing the signing. “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.”

The 36-year-old Pence was part of the Giants’ 2012 and ’14 World Series champion teams. After a more limited role in 2018 with San Francisco as he worked to retool his hitting mechanics and rediscover his swing, he spent 2019 with the Texas Rangers and resurrected himself. He batted .297 with 18 homers, 17 doubles and 59 RBIs over 83 games.

San Francisco also announced Friday it had signed outfielder Billy Hamilton and right-hander Nick Vincent to minor league contracts with spring training invitations.

The Giants also were working to finalize a deal with versatile infielder Wilmer Flores, which Zaidi said had not been completed as of Thursday.

San Francisco has 28 spring training invites. Players report Tuesday to Scottsdale Stadium in Arizona with the first workout for pitchers and catchers Wednesday.

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FILE – In this Sept. 30, 2018, file photo, San Francisco Giants Hunter Pence waits on deck club before batting against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the ninth inning of a baseball game in San Francisco. Pence is returning to the Giants, agreeing to a contract that will give the young club a veteran presence in both the outfield and clubhouse in a season of big change ahead. A person with direct knowledge of the deal said Friday, Feb. 7, 2020, that Pence had reached agreement pending a physical. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because no announcement had been made. (AP Photo/John Hefti)
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