Pence hustles his way to third All-Star appearance
Outfielder takes all-out style to Minnesota, joined by teammates Hudson, Bumgarner
MINNEAPOLIS -- The next time Hunter Pence performs at anything less than top speed will be the first.
The Giants right fielder, who was selected to his third National League All-Star team, discussed the origins of his "Full Throttle" style Monday.
Pence trained and practiced diligently -- as he does now -- throughout his youth. But Matt Meggs, Pence's head coach at Texarkana College, delivered a message that resonated with the future Major Leaguer.
"We can't control wins and losses, but we can control hustle," Pence recalled Meggs saying. Pence added, "He didn't accept anything less. It stuck with me."
Pence, 31, reflected on Meggs' bromide when he explained why he sprints to first base even on the most routine grounder, regardless of the score.
"There could be an error," Pence said. "You could put a little pressure on the infielder. Not just that, but also the attitude. Yeah, you might have gotten me out, but you're really going to have to get me out."
Pence finished explaining his all-out approach by slightly amending Meggs' mantra.
"I can't control whether I get a hit every time up or hit a homer," Pence said. "But I can control my effort and my health."
Along these lines, Pence professed his belief in trying his best on behalf of the Giants -- or whoever happens to be signing his paychecks.
"My whole mentality is, the team I'm playing for, I'm going to give my all to them," said Pence, who's in the first year of a five-year, $90 million deal. "The Astros were the first team that drafted me, the team I came up with. They believed in me. They traded me; then the Phillies believed in me. They traded me; then the Giants became that team."
One of Pence's Giants teammates, right-hander Tim Hudson, observed his 39th birthday while participating in All-Star Workout Day activities. "I'm a little bit long in the tooth," Hudson said.
Hudson was selected to replace left-hander Madison Bumgarner, who pitched Sunday and exercised the option not to perform in the All-Star Game.
Hudson is a four-time All-Star, but his selections (2000, '04 and '10) have been spread out over the duration of a 16-year career. Thus, he was especially appreciative to make the trip here.
"You always try to cherish something when you get it," said Hudson, who leads all active pitchers with 212 career victories. "You never know what's going to happen. You can't take anything for granted."