Hunter Pence Grateful for Opportunity to Win in Philly

Hunter Pence Grateful for Opportunity to Win in Philly

There was quite a buzz about the arrival of Hunter Pence in Philadelphia this afternoon, in the Phillies clubhouse particularly. The addition of the coveted right-handed bat brought more media than usual, all interested in seeing Pence's first moments at Citizens Bank Park.

"What is this, a party?" one typically vocal Phillies player quipped.

Camera men eventually moved outside, lining the outside of the Phillies dugout, setting up at just the right angle to catch the perfect shot of Pence walking through the corridor from the clubhouse to the field for the first time.

After what seemed like forever waiting on the hot field, there was a rumbling coming down the hallway.

It wasn't Pence, but it was the first sign of the newest Phillie finally arriving.

"He's coming! He's coming!"

It was Ryan Howard's 10-year old son Darian, wearing his very own Phillies cap, carrying a baseball glove of his own.  The youngster appeared acutely aware of the hubbub being made over the newest Phillie.

Minutes later Pence finally walked out to plenty of applause from the gathering of fans over the Phillies dugout. He said some hellos, introduced himself to his new teammates, and quickly went out to his new home in right field to shag some fly balls.

Later, when addressing the media, Pence seemed thrilled to have the opportunity to man right field in Philadelphia.

"Most everyone knows that this is a baseball city, a very big sports city," Pence said in his welcome-to-town press conference.

"Roy [Oswalt] and Brad [Lidge] told me that there's nothing like it -- the crowds, the fans, they're extremely passionate. It's a packed house I think 150-some games in a row. That says something about the atmosphere every night. They just said 'You're in for a treat. Have fun. Go play some baseball.'"

180 sell outs in a row to be exact (193 if you count the playoffs). But we'll let that one minor error slip.

"It's a relief to finally know where I'm at," Pence said. "I'm happy that I found a good home, a place where people want me and we have an unbelievable team around me. I'm excited."

Charlie Manuel and teammates seemed just as excited.

"From what I've seen of him, we couldn't have gotten a better guy," Manuel said of Pence before tonight's game against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Another guy who was thrilled about Pence's arrival was former teammate Roy Oswalt, who spent plenty of time on the middling Astros with Pence over the years. Oswalt thinks Pence's great character will help him absolutely thrive in his new setting in Philadelphia.

"I think he'll take off, I believe he'll feel the atmosphere here, coming to play in front of 45,000 people that are into the ball game. It's gonna add that much more to his game," Oswalt said

The Phillies got the guy they seem to have wanted all along. Their roster seems all but set for an exciting postseason run. Hunter Pence is excited to be here, and he's ready to deliver a few historic moments to the Philly faithful.

"Now I'm in a place where they really want me, where we got a chance to do something special, to create some historic moments for Philadelphia and the game of baseball. It's an unbelievable opportunity and I couldn't be more grateful."


Placido Polanco is also in the lineup batting seventh this evening when James McDonald (7-4, 3.95) takes on Cliff Lee (9-7, 3.05). First pitch scheduled for 7:05


Here's video of Pence before tonight's game:

Best of NHL: Penguins beat Panthers in Sidney Crosby's debut

Best of NHL: Penguins beat Panthers in Sidney Crosby's debut

PITTSBURGH -- Sidney Crosby scored in his season debut as the Pittsburgh Penguins rallied to beat the Florida Panthers 3-2 on Tuesday night.

Crosby, who scored on a power play, missed the team's first six games with a concussion. Carl Hagelin and Eric Fehr also scored for the Penguins, who extended a seven-game unbeaten streak against the Panthers.

Marc-Andre Fleury, who has started the first seven games of the season for Pittsburgh, stopped 20 shots. Matt Murray, who backstopped the Penguins to a Stanley Cup in June, served as the backup to Fleury after missing the first six games with a broken hand.

Reilly Smith scored a power-play goal and Mark Pysyk also scored for the Panthers, who have lost 11 of 12 against the Penguins in Pittsburgh.

James Reimer made 19 saves in his second start of the season (see full recap).

Kings top Blue Jackets in overtime
LOS ANGELES -- Alec Martinez scored 1:14 into overtime, and the Los Angeles Kings rallied to beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 3-2 Tuesday night for their third straight victory.

Drew Doughty scored the tying goal with 5:57 left in regulation for the Kings, who won their third straight overtime game after an 0-3-0 start to the season. Captain Anze Kopitar also scored, and third-string goalie Peter Budaj stopped 19 shots in his third consecutive win.

Cam Atkinson scored a tiebreaking power-play goal late in the second period, and Sergei Bobrovsky made 27 saves for Columbus. Brandon Saad also scored for the Jackets, who had won two straight after an 0-2-0 start.

Martinez ended it by putting a rebound into an open net for the defenseman's second goal of the season (see full recap).

Lightning strike for seven goals in win
TORONTO -- Steven Stamkos matched a career-high with four points -- two goals and two assists -- and the Tampa Bay Lightning beat the Toronto Maple Leafs 7-3 on Tuesday night.

Frederik Andersen gave up seven goals on only 24 shots, the third time in five starts he has allowed at least five goals and fourth time he's allowed four or more. The 27-year-old has an .851 save percentage so far this season.

Alex Killorn, Victor Hedman, Nikita Kucherov, Vladislav Namestnikov and Jonathan Drouin added goals for Tampa Bay, while Ben Bishop made 40 saves.

William Nylander, James van Riemsdyk and Auston Matthews scored for the Maple Leafs, who outshot the Lightning 43-24 (see full recap).

Report: Eagles make inquiry about Bears WR Alshon Jeffery

Report: Eagles make inquiry about Bears WR Alshon Jeffery

The Eagles could be looking for a bigger name outside.

In need of a deep threat — and reportedly in talks about a trade for 49ers wideout Torrey Smith — the Eagles are interested in Bears wide receiver Alshon Jeffery and attempting to make a move for the 2013 Pro Bowler, according to a report Tuesday night by Benjamin Allbright of Mile High Sports Radio.

We followed up with Allbright, who clarified the Eagles simply made an inquiry.

Jeffery, much more of a do-it-all, dynamic wide receiver than the one-dimensional Smith, is 26 years old and can become a free agent at season's end. He'll warrant good money, but would make the Eagles better in more ways than one compared to Smith.

The 6-foot-3, 218-pounder put up 89 catches for 1,421 yards and seven touchdowns in 2013, followed by 85 catches, 1,133 yards receiving and 10 scores in 2014.

This season, he has 520 yards receiving and has yet to find the end zone playing for the quarterback-challenged Bears, who are 1-6 and more than likely thinking about next season.