Spangenberg producing off the bench

Manager Black believes pinch-hitter will be effective offensively

Spangenberg producing off the bench

DENVER -- Cory Spangenberg has been a vital weapon off the bench for manager Bud Black, delivering twice in the past two games as a late-inning pinch-hitter.

Spangenberg led off the seventh inning in Tuesday's 7-6 win and bounced a ground-rule double over the center-field fence, eventually coming around to score a key run. And on Wednesday, he knocked in the go-ahead run with a double to left off Rockies starter Kyle Kendrick, also in the seventh. The Padres ultimately lost the game, 5-4.

"He threw a backdoor cutter, sort of gave up on it. It was a good pitch," Spangenberg said of Wednesday's go-ahead at-bat. "And then he went to a two-seamer changeup, and I didn't try to do too much with it. I just took what he gave me."

Spangenberg is a .357 career pinch-hitter, going 5-for-14 with two homers, two doubles and four RBIs. His second career appearance was as a pinch-hitter in 2014, and he hit a walk-off homer against the D-backs on Sept. 2 for his first pinch-hit. He's hitting .250 (3-for-12) this season and made his second start in Thursday's series finale.

"We think a lot of Spangy with the bat," Black said. "He's hit wherever he's been, so that doesn't surprise us when he gets his hits, even though his average is down."

Although younger players are often less comfortable adjusting to limited playing time and delivering off the bench in the pinch, Spangenberg's confidence has served him well to date.

"I got on my feet last year," Spangeberg said. "I pinch-hit a bunch of times last year, and then I had success. I'm just aggressive up there, and if I get my pitch, I don't miss it."

Spangenberg was a September callup last year, and he hit.290 (18-for-62) in 20 games. Both his homers came as a pinch-hitter.

"We think eventually he's going to be a guy in the Major Leagues who's going to be an offensive producer with average and maybe some stolen bases," Black said. "There's some extra-base hits in there too. We like Cory, and we think there's a bat in there. There's some hits in there. "

For now, he's adapting well to his role off the bench. He's started at second and third and has gone to the outfield late in games.

"We have a deep team," Spangenberg said. "The guys on our bench can start on a lot of other teams. We have a deep team, we have confidence in our bench, and I think if we're put in [clutch] situations, we're going to be productive."

Owen Perkins is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.