With his ninth-inning double on Friday, Wes Helms became the Marlins' all-time leader in pinch hits with 45, moving him one ahead of Alex Arias. By chance, Lenny Harris, the majors' all-time pinch-hit leader, was on hand Friday to see Helms get his hit.
Helms, with 78 career pinch hits, has a ways to go to catch Harris, who finished his career with 212. Helms is second on the active list, trailing only Matt Stairs, who has 87 pinch hits. Helms takes tremendous pride in his role and puts in a lot of behind-the-scenes preparation, his teammates say.
Helms says being a good pinch-hitter -- or a good bench player in general -- comes down to hard work and accepting the role.
"A big part of it is accepting the role," Helms said. "Don't be bitter because you're not playing everyday. It's hard for some guys to suck that pride up. But I think once the ones do suck the pride up and prepare for it are the ones who are going to succeed for it."
Helms said his most memorable pinch hit occured during the 2006 season in Baltimore, when Joe Borchard and he hit back-to-back home runs with two outs in the ninth to tie a game the Marlins ended up winning in extra innings.
"Pinch-hitting to me is like living your last day," Helms said. " Your doctor tells you this is your last day to live. It's kind of like that. You've got one chance, one AB, let it all out. For me personally, I feel when I step up to the plate it's you and me, you got one at bat, you got one chance to get me. It's one on one. That's what gets me going. I get pumped for it."
Marlins Top 5 Pinch-Hitters
1. Helms, 45; 2. Arias, 44; 3. Lenny Harris 35; 4. John Cangelosi, 22; 5. Ross Gload.
MINORS: Mike Stanton hit another home run on Friday, his second in three games for Double A Jacksonville....At this point, it's probably worth keeping an eye on the Marlins' minor-league relievers. Taylor Tankersley, Brett Sinkbeil and Scott Strickland each tossed one scoreless inning for Triple A New Orleans on Friday....Outfielder Brett Carroll, who is on the DL with an oblique strain, played in a rehab game on Friday.
1. Chris Coghlan, lf; 2. Cameron Maybin, cf; 3. Hanley Ramirez, ss; 4. Jorge Cantu, 3b; 5. Dan Uggla, 2b; 6. John Baker, c; 7. Cody Ross, rf; 8. Gaby Sanchez, 1b; 9. Josh Johnson, p.