Hunter Pence embracing new role, big expectations

Hunter Pence is hungry. That has nothing to do with the muscular outfielder’s catch phrase, “Let’s Go Eat.”

No, Pence is hungry for a long postseason run after getting a taste of meaningful October baseball in 2011.

“It was great experiencing the playoffs,” Pence said. “Now I want to go back and play until the very end.”

Pence has quite an opportunity since much is expected of the Phillies, particularly due to his addition last July.

“It’ll definitely help having Hunter Pence for the entire season,” Charlie Manuel said. “That will be big for us.”

With Ryan Howard and Chase Utley out indefinitely, there are big holes in the lineup. Pence could find himself batting cleanup come Opening Day. In yesterday’s 4-1 win, Pence batted third and went 2-for-3 with a double.

“I’m not thinking about where I’ll hit in the order,” Pence said. “That’s not up to me. I’ll just go up there no matter where I hit and try to do the best I can.”

Fans look forward to Pence’s pregame plate appearances since he puts on a show drilling balls all over the outfield seats in batting practice.

“I’m just getting ready for the game,” Pence said. “I take BP pretty seriously.”

Pence has become one of the Phillies’ most popular players in a short time.

“It’s been great being embraced like I have in Philadelphia,” Pence said. “I think the fans appreciate how hard I work. It’s a great city to play in. The fans are great and so is this organization. We’re designed to go very far.”

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