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Rangers sign Hunter Pence to minor league contract

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The Rangers have signed outfielder Hunter Pence to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training, per the team’s executive VP of communications John Blake. According to Jon Heyman, Pence will earn a $2 million base salary with an additional $1.25 million in incentives if he makes the major league roster.

Pence, 35, was thought to be retiring after battling injuries as he progressed through his mid-30’s. Last year, in 97 games with the Giants, he hit a minuscule .226/.358/.332 with four home runs and 24 RBI across 248 plate appearances. Pence still thinks he has something left in the tank. Hopefully he’s right.

This is a low-risk venture for the rebuilding Rangers. Pence will, at minimum, be a mentor to younger players in spring camp in Surprise, Arizona.

Clayton Kershaw shut down with “an arm kind of thing”

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Spring training is just underway but Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw is already being shut down indefinitely.

Kershaw threw two bullpen sessions this week and, as the Los Angeles Times reports, he “didn’t feel right” afterward. Manager Dave Roberts said it was “arm kind of thing,” which, viva specificity. Roberts did allow that it might be so-called “dead arm” but it’s too soon to know. For now he’ll be working out as usual but not throwing.

Kershaw has had an increasing number of nagging injuries and ailments over the past several seasons, limiting him to 26 starts last year, 27 the year before and 21 in 2016. Whether this is something serious or not is unknown, but at least he’s experiencing it now instead of the middle of the season.