Hunter Pence got his San Francisco homecoming in Scottsdale.
Five months after Giants fans treated the outfielder to a standing ovation in his final game in orange and black, Pence played against his old club for the first time since signing a minor league contract with the Texas Rangers in February. When Pence stepped up to the plate for his first at-bat, Giants fans gave Pence another ovation.
"Pretty special, very humbling," Pence told reporters in Scottsdale (via the San Francisco Chronicle). "It's a gift to play for the San Francisco Giants organization as long as I did. Fans are spectacular."
Pence went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts against his former team on Saturday, but will have up to two more opportunities to play against them this spring. The Giants and Rangers will square off on March 6, and then in a split-squad game on March 10.
But the two teams will not play against each other as interleague opponents in the regular season. Pence is a 12-year veteran who will turn 36 in August, and is coming off of the worst year of his career statistically. In other words, he conceivably could have played his last game against the Giants on Saturday.
If that ends up being the case, fans at Oracle Park will have to hold their applause for now.