Ramon Martinez is the type of player that teams like to have around. He can
play every infield position and has accepted his role as a utility player and
works hard to help his ballclub coming off the bench.
When Martinez arrived in Philadelphia, it was figured that his only job would
be to come off the bench. Perhaps an occasional day off for Jimmy Rollins would
give Martinez a chance to play now and again, but most likely, he would be
somewhat of a spare part. It certainly wasn't figured that he would fit into the
first base job for the Phillies, although that's where he has found some playing
time. With Ryan Howard struggling against left-handers, Martinez has gotten some
starts against tougher lefties and has done well. In one of those starts,
Martinez launched the first grand slam of his career, helping the Phillies to a
12-4 win over Atlanta.
Of his last 15 games played, seven have been starts and Martinez has hit .286
(8-for-28) with eight RBI in those games. As a pinch-hitter, Martinez is hitting
.462 (6-for-13) on the season.
Michael Tucker was brought over from San Francisco in exchange for minor
league pitcher Kelvin Pichardo. The move was designed to give the Phillies a
little more punch off the bench, especially from the left side of the plate.
Tucker - who has not started a game for the Phillies - went just 1-for-11 (.091)
to start his career with the Phillies. Since then though, he's gone 3-for-4
(.750) with three runs scored, three RBI and a walk to his credit.
Unlike Martinez, Tucker is not used to the role of a pinch-hitter. Throughout
his career, Tucker has primarily been an everyday player, although those days
may be coming to an end. In his time with the Phillies, he has worked to perfect
and accept the role of pinch-hitting. "Pinch-hitting is the toughest job in the world. You only get one chance. If you don't get it right on that one swing, then your day is
done," said Tucker while mired in his 1-for-11 slump.
Tucker snapped out of his slump with a pinch-hit, two-run single last Friday
against the Marlins and has continued his revival throughout the week.
While neither Martinez or Tucker are looked at as being keys to the Phillies
success, both have contributed in their own way to help the club in key moments.
It's also not clear what role, if any, either will play with the Phillies next
season. For now though, the pair have chipped in and have been nice additions to
a bench that sorely needed help.