MLB Network to produce Fox’s pregame show

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I tend not to watch the pregame shows for national broadcasts. No compelling reason for it. It’s just that I spend all day thinking about the broader baseball news and upcoming games as it is, so when go to watch a national telecast I just like to turn on the TV and have the game begin.

For those of you who do watch the pregame shows, however, change is afoot: Fox is subcontracting out its pregame festivities to MLB Network:

MLB Network is teaming with Fox Sports on an expanded pregame show before the broadcaster’s game of the week. Fox Saturday Baseball Pregame Show will run for 30 minutes, originating live from MLB’s state-of-the-art Studio 3 in Secaucus, N.J.

The program will be hosted by veteran Fox Sports and MLB Network broadcaster Matt Vasgersian. He will be joined weekly by a rotating roster of MLB Network analysts: Harold Reynolds, Mitch Williams, Eric Byrnes and Kevin Millar.

In other news, Chris Rose and Kevin Kennedy’s golf games may reach new heights this summer.

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.