FORT MYERS -- Nice game by Dewayne Wise, who snapped out of a hitless spring by going 3 for 4 on Saturday against the Red Sox. Wise hit a two-run home run off Boston starter Daisuke Matsuzaka to go with a pair of singles. Wise had gone hitless in eight at bats coming into the day.
Wise is among several players battling for that bench spot reserved for a left-handed hitter. Bryan Petersen, Scott Cousins, Josh Kroeger, Ruben Gotay and Greg Dobbs are also in the mix. With Mike Stanton nursing a quad injury and Chris Coghlan playing every other day. manager Edwin Rodriguez is providing playing time for those contenders.
"Especially early in spring training I would like to take a look at all those guys," Rodriguez said.
Pinch-hitting will be an important aspect of that lefty bench role, and Wise said he feels confident he can handle that assignment. He's a .308 career pinch-hitter, but said it wasn't until he was with the Braves in 2004 that his approach changed. He went from passive to aggressive.
"Bobby Cox called me in the office one day and said, 'D, when you pinch hit, if you get that first-pitch fastball, you've got to swing at it," Wise recalled. "Since then, I've been comfortable, I go up there hacking."