How Hunter Pence bounced back from difficult end to Giants career

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In the aftermath of his feel-good Giants goodbye, Hunter Pence questioned himself.

The 2018 season was the worst of his career. Pence played just 97 games with San Francisco, and he slashed a career-worst .226/.258/.590. He set out to reinvent his swing and his game the following offseason, but there were doubts. 

"They took me out of my role as the starting job," Pence says of his final season at Oracle Park in Fox Sports' "The Pence Method" documentary. "I was trying to give them everything I had as a pinch-hitter. 'Do I still have it? Do I still wanna play?' It was just kind of like they had moved on. It definitely hits your confidence."

As it turns out, the answer to both questions was yes. After a rejuvenating stint in the Dominican Winter League, Pence signed a minor league contract with his hometown Texas Rangers this winter. What has followed is an All-Star season, with Pence being named to the Midsummer Classic as the AL's starting designated hitter.

Pence missed out on the game due to injury, but the 36-year-old entered Friday with a .297/.358/.552 slash line and 18 home runs. The latter is his highest total since 2014. 

"The Pence Method" follows Pence during his time with Toros del Este in the Dominican Republic, and shows the Giants' onetime emotional linchpin starting slowly -- in his estimation, at least -- in the Dominican Winter League. We see Pence start to gain more confidence, and he tells his wife, Alexis, at one point that he is ready to give his all for another MLB team if he gets the opportunity. 

"But it will never take away the things we've done with the Giants," Pence says in the documentary. 

"I loved them," Alexis, his wife of nearly three years, says of the Giants. "They were my first team with you, and I figured we'd always kind of be with them. I think that's what I panic more about is, like, leaving that."

"That may seem scary at first, but a lot of your most amazing experiences are from things that seem scary at first," Hunter tells her. 

The documentary reveals that Pence had no shortage of suitors during the offseason. At one point his agent, Danny Horwits, calls the Pences to tell them that 29 teams -- "I'll exclude the Giants from this conversation" -- were "incredibly impressed" with Pence's decision to play in the Dominican Winter League. 

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Pence, upon hearing what teams are saying about his love of the game, starts to cry.

"I didn't expect to hear that," Pence says, fighting back tears as his wife does the same.

Pence's stint with Toros del Este lasted just eight games and 31 plate appearances, but played a big role in spring-boarding him into a bounce-back season. The end of his career looked imminent as soon as a year ago, but Pence has proved this year he still has a story to tell. 

How Hunter Pence bounced back from difficult end to Giants career originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area