Phillies' Mayberry makes his case to avoid another trip to minors

John Mayberry gets everything into his swing and rips a game-tying, two-run homer in the ninth inning against Colorado closer Huston Street. The Phillies went on to win Monday.
John Mayberry gets everything into his swing and rips a game-tying, two-run homer in the ninth inning against Colorado closer Huston Street. The Phillies went on to win Monday. (CHRIS SCHNEIDER / Associated Press)
Posted: August 03, 2011

John Mayberry Jr. could not convince the Phillies he was the right-handed bat that manager Charlie Manuel could insert into his lineup on a daily basis before the trade deadline.

He has undoubtedly convinced the manager and general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. that those annoying trips back to triple-A Lehigh Valley are no longer an unattractive necessity.

This comes up now because a roster move is on the horizon. With pitcher Roy Oswalt scheduled to return this weekend in San Francisco, the Phillies will have to clear a roster spot, and it's not going to be a pitcher.

Manager Charlie Manuel admitted to being uncomfortable with his six-man bullpen before Tuesday night's game against the Colorado Rockies. With Oswalt back in the starting rotation, Kyle Kendrick will return to the bullpen, and one of the Phillies' extra men will be sent to triple-A Lehigh Valley.

Mayberry was that guy a couple of times earlier this season and has been moving back and forth between the big leagues and triple-A quite often during his three seasons with the Phillies.

With a sensational July and an unforgettable first day of August, Mayberry showed why he deserves relief from his status as roving right-handed power bat.

Mayberry received substantial playing time in July while Shane Victorino was on the disabled list, and he batted .300 with eight doubles, three home runs, and 13 RBIs. But with Victorino back and Hunter Pence added at the trade deadline, he returned to bench duty.

His first plate appearance since Pence joined the Phillies came Monday night at Coors Field, and the classic eighth-inning battle between Mayberry and Colorado closer Huston Street was as good as it gets for a bench player.

After Carlos Ruiz kept the game alive with a two-out double, Mayberry hit for pitcher Michael Stutes. Street threw him eight straight sliders. With the count at 1-2, Mayberry laid off consecutive pitches to run the count full, then fought off two more sliders by hitting them foul.

On the eighth pitch of the at-bat, Mayberry whipped his bat at a hanging slider and crushed it into the left-field seats. It was Mayberry's seventh home run of the season and the 13th of his career. None has been bigger.

"It feels great to be in that spot and to come up with the game-tying home run," Mayberry said. "As a bench guy, you normally get one at-bat and I tried to make the most of it. I was able to do that today."

Shane Victorino connected for a solo home run in the 10th inning off Rex Brothers to account for the winning run.

"It starts with Mayberry's at-bat," Victorino said. "I only got a chance to do what I did in my at-bat because Mayberry battled in that situation. Again, I give all the credit to him for coming up big in that situation and battling."


Contact staff writer Bob Brookover at bbrookover@phillynews.com or @brookob on Twitter.

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