Alumnus Hunter Pence has agreed to a minor league deal with the Texas Rangers, the club announced Thursday.
The 35-year-old joins the Rangers after a seven-year stint with the San Francisco Giants, with whom he won World Series titles in 2012 and 2014.
The Fort Worth native played for the Mavericks from 2003 to 2004 before being selected in the second round of the 2004 MLB Amateur Draft by the Houston Astros.
Pence posted some of the top offensive numbers in the history of UTA baseball, forecasting what would grow into a 12-year major league career.
In 109 total games he hit 16 home runs and drove in 77 runs. His .371 career batting average ranks fifth all-time in program history. His .585 slugging percentage ranks seventh. He was named All-Conference in both seasons, and was named as the Southland Conference Player of the Year in 2004.
As a pro, Pence spent three years in the minor leagues before debuting with the Astros in 2007. Over the next 12 seasons Pence provided close to 30 Wins Above Replacement across his time with the Astros, the Philadelphia Phillies and the Giants. He was named as a major league All-Star three times.
Now 35, Pence posted the worst offensive season of his career last season with the Giants.
In what could be Pence’s swan song, the outfielder will return to Arlington, where he will look to provide an offensive spark off the bench. The Rangers’ roster — especially in the outfield — is heavily left-handed, so there could be some room for the right-handed Pence to receive some at-bats.
Pence is also regarded as a seasoned professional and an exemplary teammate, Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said in an MLB.com press release.
“He has a long track record of being one of the elite teammates in the game,” Daniels said. “He is a decorated player, winning player who has been productive on the field.”
Pence and the Rangers will head to spring training in Surprise, Arizona, next week. They begin exhibition games in the Cactus League on Feb. 23.
Opening Day 2019 is set for March 28 against the Chicago Cubs at Globe Life Park in Arlington.