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Walding gets long-awaited call to The Show

25-year-old third baseman replaces surgery-bound Florimon
MLB.com @ToddZolecki

LOS ANGELES -- Mitch Walding's phone rang 15 times in 10 minutes in the middle of the night Tuesday. He pushed the decline button the first 14 times.

He finally answered the 15th call. He learned then that he had been promoted to the big leagues following seven seasons in the Phillies' farm system. He replaces utility infielder Pedro Florimon, who will need surgery to repair his fractured right foot. Phillies manager Gabe Kapler put Walding in the starting lineup for the club's matchup with the Dodgers at Dodger Stadium on Wednesday night. He started at third base and went 0-for-4 with four strikeouts in an 8-2 loss.

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LOS ANGELES -- Mitch Walding's phone rang 15 times in 10 minutes in the middle of the night Tuesday. He pushed the decline button the first 14 times.

He finally answered the 15th call. He learned then that he had been promoted to the big leagues following seven seasons in the Phillies' farm system. He replaces utility infielder Pedro Florimon, who will need surgery to repair his fractured right foot. Phillies manager Gabe Kapler put Walding in the starting lineup for the club's matchup with the Dodgers at Dodger Stadium on Wednesday night. He started at third base and went 0-for-4 with four strikeouts in an 8-2 loss.

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"I was dead asleep," Walding said. "I continued to push the hang-up button not knowing who it was. Finally, after the persistent calls … I answered it and it was Gary Jones, our manager at Triple-A, letting me know that I was going to The Show. He said, 'Let this be a lesson learned to always answer your phone.' It was really cool and very surreal."

Walding said he immediately called his parents.

"I didn't wait a second," Walding said. "I called them right away because I know they would want to know even if they were asleep. And they're out in California time so it was even earlier for them. It was hard to go back to sleep after you get that call. I called everyone. Let my family know what was going on and they flew out [from Sacramento] immediately. They're here tonight, so I'm excited that I get to share this moment with them, too."

The Phillies selected Walding in the fifth round of the 2011 Draft. He never posted better than a .680 OPS his first three seasons, but he slowly started to produce. He hit .272 with seven home runs, 20 RBIs and an .865 OPS this season with this IronPigs.

He is a third baseman, but he also has played at first base and in the outfield.

"It's an incredible feeling," Walding said. "I had a lot of ups and downs coming through the system. I really struggled really hard for the first couple years of my career. It was one of those things where I just took pride in my defense and was hoping that my offense would come around. I got a lot of help from a lot of great coaches through the year that really stuck with me and helped me out on both sides of the ball. That's just a testament to the Phillies. They really gave me a chance and continued to work hard with me so I could get to this point in my career."

Said Kapler: "I asked him if he was ready and he said I've been waiting for this moment my whole life. That, as a baseball guy and a baseball fan, kind of perks me up."

Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow him on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

Philadelphia Phillies, Mitch Walding