For Hinske, pinch-hitting is a full-time gig
APR 08, 2013 7:17p ET
Eric Hinske’s eighth career pinch home run that beat Milwaukee in the 11th inning Sunday came in an at-bat that took maybe two minutes.
If only it did not take a full day’s work to get there. You can set your watch by Hinske’s exhaustive pregame routine.
“I do the exact same thing every day,” Hinske said.
His routine, for a typical 6:40 p.m. home game:
1 p.m. -- Arrive at the park.
1:15 p.m. -- Eat lunch.
1:30 p.m. -- Hot/cold tub immersion.
1:45 p.m. -- Sauna.
2 p.m. -- Shower.
2:15 p.m. -- Workout room: Stretching exercises, then shoulder, core body, power plate and (three days a week) weight work.
3 p.m. -- Inside batting cages to hit off a tee and on flips.
3:40 p.m. -- Stretch on the field, batting practice/shagging.
5 p.m. -- Back in clubhouse for preparation, light meal.
6:40 p.m. -- Game time, observe from the dugout with eye on the opposing pitcher.
Fourth inning -- Inside batting cage for 15/20 swings off a tee, batting practice.
Fifth inning on -- Manage along with manager Kirk Gibson.
“You just watch the lineup card and you watch where the pitcher’s pitch-count is. Try to be your own manager," Hinske said. "Know when you would have yourself hitting. Just try to figure it out with him along the way. Then he’ll say ‘If this and this happens, you are up in this spot.’ Then you go up and take your whack.
“Occasionally get one out front. Then you have to do it again tomorrow.”
Except for days like Sunday, it is not a glamorous gig.
The closest job parallel might be NFL cornerback.
“You have to be aggressive and have a short memory, because you are not going to get it done all the time. It’s a learned trait, for sure,” Hinske said.
“Its a tough job. Most of the time you are facing an eighth-inning guy or a closer. You are kind of set up to fail, but you have to take it as a challenge and really embrace the role and want to succeed at it.
“It’s a big deal if you do it. Teams really value left-handed and right-handed bats off the bench, especially in the National League. It is a good way to hang around awhile.”
Follow Jack Magruder on Twitter