SAN FRANCISCO -- When Hunter Pence rode off, literally, into the sunset at the end of last season, he promised that the work to return to prominence would start on the first day of the offseason. That effort landed Pence back on an All-Star roster.
The longtime Giant was voted the DH for the American League All-Star team and will make his first appearance in the game since 2014. In his first season with the Rangers, Pence, currently sidelined by a groin injury, is batting .293 and slugging .608, which would be a career-high. He has 15 homers and 48 RBI for the surprising Rangers.
Manager Bruce Bochy said he's thrilled for Pence, one of his favorites during his 13-year career with the Giants. The 36-year-old reworked his swing over the winter and played Winter Ball in the Dominican Republic for the first time before winning a job with the Rangers in spring training.
"I couldn't be happier for Hunter," Bochy said. "What he did this winter, you're talking about a guy that was determined to find his swing and change his swing and he goes down to Winter Ball and he works his tail off. He's got enough money, he didn't need to do that. We've talked about his passion for the game and how hungry he always stays and he wants to keep playing.
"For him to get it turned around and go and have the type of season that he's having, it's well-deserved. I think that's what great athletes can do. They find a way to find their game again. At his age, to find that so-called fountain of youth again and play the way he did a few years ago, that's really impressive."
Pence was a two-time All-Star before joining the Giants and made the team in his second full season in San Francisco. His final year wasn't nearly as productive, as he hit just .226 last season with four homers while battling injuries.
But Pence insisted when he left that he wasn't done. Turns out he was right.