The Red Sox have banned beer in the clubhouse

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After the Red Sox collapsed in epic fashion down the stretch last season, reports surfaced that Josh Beckett, John Lackey and Jon Lester drank beer, ate fried chicken and played video games in the clubhouse on the days they weren’t pitching.

The Red Sox still won 90 games last season and whether drinking beer in the clubhouse had any real impact on the team missing the playoffs is questionable, but new manager Bobby Valentine is doing his part to nip the issue in the bud. No pun intended, I swear.

Per Joe McDonald of ESPNBoston.com, the Red Sox have also banned beer on the last leg of plane trips. I guess we can assume fried chicken is fair game, though.

Hunter Pence is mashing for the Rangers

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Hunter Pence was thought to be on his way to retirement after a lackluster 2018 season with the Giants. As he entered his mid-30’s, Pence spent a considerable amount of time on the injured list, playing in 389 out of 648 possible regular season games with the Giants from 2015-18.

Pence, however, kept his career going, inking a minor league deal with the Rangers in February. He performed very well in spring training, earning a spot on the Opening Day roster. Pence hasn’t stopped hitting.

Entering Monday night’s game against the Mariners, Pence was batting .299/.358/.619 with eight home runs and 28 RBI in 109 plate appearances, mostly as a DH. Statcast agrees that Pence has been mashing the ball. He has an average exit velocity of 93.3 MPH this season, which would obliterate his marks in each of the previous four seasons since Statcast became a thing. His career average exit velocity is 89.8 MPH. He has “barreled” the ball 10.4 percent of the time, well above his 6.2 percent average.

What Pence did to a baseball in the seventh inning of Monday’s game, then, shouldn’t come as a surprise.

That’s No. 9 on the year for Pence. Statcast measured it at 449 feet and 108.3 MPH off the bat. Not only is Pence not retired, he may be a lucrative trade chip for the Rangers leading up to the trade deadline at the end of July.