Aaron Hill expected to rejoin the Diamondbacks this week

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Tyler Killian of the Arizona Republic has the news:

Second baseman Aaron Hill (broken left hand) is expected to rejoin the Diamondbacks sometime during their three-game series in Washington, which starts Tuesday.

Hill suffered a small fracture in his left hand when he was struck by a pitch back in early April. He was only expected to miss a total of four weeks but wound up experiencing multiple setbacks along his recovery route.

Cliff Pennington has been serving as the Diamondbacks’ primary second baseman with Didi Gregorius handling shortstop. In all, Arizona second basemen have hit .278/.339/.377 this season. Hill, who won the Silver Slugger at second base in 2012, was batting .306/.405/.556 in 10 games before hitting the shelf.

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.