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Wallace evolving, thriving as pinch-hitter

Padres infielder credits experience for improvement

SAN DIEGO -- Interim manager Pat Murphy is quick to credit Brett Wallace's intelligence for his success as a pinch-hitter this season.

"He's a bright kid," Murphy said. "He's at the perfect point in his career. It's a matter of him taking all that he's learned and putting it to good use."

Wallace has been able to do just that, as he had a pinch-hit homer in the eighth inning of Friday's game, marking his third of the season.

"I take pride in getting ready and doing what I need to do to help the team win, whatever that may be -- getting hits, playing defense," Wallace said. "I'm ready, either way."

Wallace pinch-hit in the ninth inning of Sunday's 5-1 loss to the Dodgers and struck out swinging.

Among players with at least 20 at-bats as a pinch-hitter, he has the second highest batting average at .400. Phillies outfielder Jeff Francoeur has the highest average as a pinch-hitter at .478. Since the All-Star break Wallace is 17-for-43 (.395) with 11 RBIs.

"People say in pinch-hitting it's hard to keep a rhythm, but I try to not focus on things like that. It's still playing baseball and that's what we love to do," Wallace said. "You try to study as much as you can to get ready to face the guys you need to face. Once the game comes you let adrenaline and your preparation take over and just have fun."

The 28-year-old, who's in his fourth season, said pinch-hitting has become easier with experience.

"You just learn to control the things you can, when you are younger I think that is something you don't always understand in your career," Wallace said. "It's been growth in my game."

Beth Maiman is an associate reporter for
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