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Players Weekend energizes Pence, teammates

Mystery surrounding some nicknames amuses Giants
MLB.com @sfgiantsbeat

PHOENIX -- Though Major Leagues Baseball's inaugural Players Weekend concludes Sunday, many Giants will remember the enjoyment they derived from the three days of sporting alternate jerseys with nicknames and tribute patches. At least until the next Players Weekend comes along.

"Hopefully it grows," Giants right fielder Hunter Pence said.

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PHOENIX -- Though Major Leagues Baseball's inaugural Players Weekend concludes Sunday, many Giants will remember the enjoyment they derived from the three days of sporting alternate jerseys with nicknames and tribute patches. At least until the next Players Weekend comes along.

"Hopefully it grows," Giants right fielder Hunter Pence said.

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Pence displayed one of the most creative nicknames in the Major Leagues on his back: "Wawindaji," which means "hunter" in Swahili. Fellow outfielder Jarrett Parker suggested the name to Pence.

Asked whether he received plenty of inquiries about his nickname, Pence said, "Most people are just confused."

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Pence said that he appreciated the variety of nicknames, including the one that Arizona closer Fernando Rodney chose for himself: Benjamin.

"If that's for Benjamin Button, that's classic," Pence said. "That's really good."

In reality, Rodney chose Benjamin as a remembrance of his late father, since that was his middle name.

Of course, as Pence pointed out, that was part of the objective of Players Weekend.

"The personality, the fun jerseys, getting to thank someone on your sleeve -- it's really cool. This is a great thing that baseball has done."

Outfielder Gorkys Hernandez was amused by the number of comments and questions he received about his nickname, "Cazador" (hunter)."

Said Hernandez, "Everybody asks me, 'What does that mean?' Having the opportunity to use it is pretty fun."

As right-hander Kyle Crick said, "It's good to keep everything light, especially late in the season."

Crick also appreciated the sight of the Pirates and Cardinals mixing with Little League World Series participants as the big leaguers played a game in front of them Aug. 20 at Williamsport, Pa.

"I'm glad that they did that," Crick said. "It's good for the game."

Chris Haft has covered the Giants since 2005, and for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast.

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