To stay ready for what will be his 14th big league season, Hunter Pence is going back to his roots.

Pence and his wife Alexis stayed in their rental home in Arizona when MLB shut down last month, and the Giants outfielder is finding creative ways to get workouts in and keep his swing ready. As part of that, he's hitting off a machine that fires wiffle balls at him.

"Alexis built a net for me in the backyard and there's a wiffle ball machine that we have that throws really hard wiffle balls," Pence said. "I actually used it every day during the season last year. It really helped me a lot. The Giants had bought one and they let me borrow it."

Pence has stayed busy during the unexpected break, particularly when it comes to workouts. There's yoga and running and walks, along with makeshift gym workouts in the garage of their spring training rental home. He hits off the wiffle ball machine and keeps his arm loose by throwing into the net his wife built. 

"I'm trying to do every little thing I can just to stay ready whenever that bell rings again," Pence said on Tuesday's Giants Insider Podcast. 

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That's been the adjustment for the Giants, and Pence said he's taking part in Zoom calls with outfield coach Antoan Richardson and talks to manager Gabe Kapler at least once a week. The rest of the days are filled with things that are otherwise difficult in a normal April, including meditation, calls with family members and friends, and Friday night cocktail hours on Zoom.


Pence also has been active in the eSports community. He took part in a charity stream Tuesday and resumes his MLB: The Show schedule Wednesday night. 

You would think that it would be a bit harder for Pence to stay in tune right now. His swing has a lot of moving parts, and he changed it after the 2018 season, leading to a breakthrough with the Rangers. But Pence, who had just seven spring plate appearances before the coronavirus (COVID-19) shut down the sport, said it hasn't been that hard to keep his timing. 

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"I think just taking those swings, and honestly the wiffle ball machine is throwing it really hard and moving it in a lot of directions," Pence said. "It definitely is the best thing for timing. Your swing mechanics, you can work through just doing your mechanics. But timing, that's what the wiffle ball machine helps with a lot. Keeping my timing going, and then just doing the proper drills throughout taking the swings.

"Once you get the body movement, it's just like doing it and doing it and doing it."