Hunter Pence named AL All-Star

Sporting News
Texas Rangers' Hunter Pence (24) is congratulated after his inside the park home run in the sixth inning of a baseball game against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park in Boston, Tuesday, June 11, 2019. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

Arlington, Texas — Texas Rangers outfielder/designated hitter Hunter Pence has been selected as the starting designated hitter for the American League for the 2019 Major League All-Star Game, which will be played on Tuesday, July 9 at Progressive Field in Cleveland, Ohio.

The results of the Starters Election were announced tonight on ESPN’s “Google MLB All-Star Election Night.” Pence was one of the three designated hitter finalists in the A.L., beating out Minnesota’s Nelson Cruz and Boston’s J.D. Martinez for the starting nod.

Frank Lucchesi

Pence was named to the All-Star Team for the fourth time in his career, as he was previously selected as a National League All-Star reserve with Houston in 2009 and 2011, and with San Francisco in 2014. This will be his first career starting assignment. Pence is the first Ranger to be named a starter since 2012, when Adrián Beltré (3B), Josh Hamilton (LF), and Mike Napoli (C) all started for the A.L. team in Kansas City. He will be the fourth Texas batter to start an All-Star Game at designated hitter, joining Rafael Palmeiro in 1999, Milton Bradley in 2008, and Vladimir Guerrero in 2010.

At 36 years old, Pence will be the oldest Ranger to ever start an All-Star Game. Guerrero was 35 years old when he made his final All-Star appearance in 2010. Pence, who was born in Fort Worth and raised in Arlington, will be the fifth Texas native to represent the Rangers at an All-Star Game, and the first to start a Midsummer Classic.

Pence is batting .294 with 15 home runs and 48 RBI in 55 games for the Rangers in 2019. The 48 RBI are most on the club, while his 15 home runs rank second to Joey Gallo (19). Entering today, Pence ranked among A.L. leaders (min. 200 plate appearances) in at-bats per RBI (1st, 4.04) and on-base plus slugging percentage (4th, .962).

Gallo, who was one of nine A.L. outfielder finalists for the Starters Election, finished outside of the top three spots required to earn a starting position.

The balance of the All-Star rosters will be announced on Sunday, June 30th at 4:30 p.m. CT on ESPN during the “Google MLB All-Star Selection Show.”

From Rangers PR staff reports