SAN FRANCISCO -- Hunter Pence is heading home.
Pence, who grew up in Arlington, Texas, signed a minor league deal with the Rangers, the team announced Thursday morning. Pence will get an invitation to spring training and a chance to win an Opening Day job.
The Giants and Pence parted ways at the end of last season after a seven-year run that included two World Series titles, an All-Star appearance, some of the strangest batted balls in team history and a series of legendary speeches. Pence has spent the offseason working on swing changes that he hopes will lead to a resurgence, and he played Winter Ball in the Dominican Republic for the first time to put those changes into action.
"He's got a long track record of being an elite teammate; a decorated, productive player on the field," GM Jon Daniels told the Dallas Morning News. "From a standpoint of pedigree, makeup, and way he goes about the game, it's consistent with the messaging of what we want this team to be about."
The Rangers are a nice landing spot for Pence, who was born in Fort Worth, went to high school and college in nearby Arlington and started his big league career in Houston, where he now owns a coffee shop and holds a yearly baseball camp. Pence still owns his apartment in downtown San Francisco, too, and if he makes the team, he would return to the Bay Area three times this year to play the A's.
The Giants and Rangers don't play this season but do face off three times in spring training, including a matchup at Scottsdale Stadium on March 2.