Baseball

Hunter Pence

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Hunter Pence says this off-season was no different from any other. He was in the batting cage honing his swing and hosting kids at his annual skills camp. But there was one difference, to be sure: Pence, the Philadelphia Phillies’ dynamic right fielder and UT Arlington’s most notable baseball alumnus, was coming off his first career postseason appearance. Philadelphia lost to the eventual World Series-champion St. Louis Cardinals. “I learned a lot,” Pence says of his playoff adventure. “What happened last year fuels your desire. There are 30 teams out to win the World Series, and there’s only going to be one that does it. We’re capable, and that’s our goal.” The Phillies begin that quest in their season opener April 5 against the Pittsburgh Pirates. For Pence, a two-time All-Star who signed a $10.4 million contract for 2012, it will be his sixth major league season and his first full season with the Phillies. The Houston Astros—the team that selected him out of UT Arlington in the second round of the 2004 draft—traded him in July for four players. When the season begins, he’ll be one of six former Mavericks in the big leagues. “It’s always good to see your old college teammates and guys from your school having success,” Pence says. “It’s something to be proud of.”

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