Dobbs returns, will his pinch-hitting stroke follow?

When Greg Dobbs first went on the disabled list with a strained calf he suffered running the bases in a 4-2 loss at Citi Field on Aug. 21, he wasn't expected to miss more than his 15-day stint on the DL. Nearly a month later, most of it spent rehabbing in Clearwater, Fla., the reserve third baseman is back.

The Phillies activated him today. Now, they'll need to try to get him back to the form he displayed last season, when he established himself as one of the top pinch-hitters in the game, hitting .355/.388/.532 (22-for-62) with two home runs and 16 RBI. In 2007, he hit .292/.386/.521 (14-for-48) with two home runs and 18 RBI as a pinch-hitter.

This year, however, Dobbs is just 7-for-45 (.156) and hasn't had a pinch-hit since July 7. He is hitless in his last eight pinch-hit at-bats, and is just 3-for-20 since June 1.

When Dobbs got hurt, he was performing well overall. After a dreadful start in which he went 5-for-38 in April and May, Dobbs hit .342 with three home runs in June and .298 with a home run and nine RBI in July. He was 3-for-13 with no home runs and no RBI in eight games in August, three of them starts, before hurting himself in the fourth inning of a 4-2 loss to the Mets on Aug. 21.

Dobbs is hitting .329/.362/.446 with three home runs and 11 RBI as a starter, but just .156 (7-for-45) with one home run and three RBI as a pinch-hitter.

Seeing as though Dobbs will not get many starts in the postseason, given Pedro Feliz's performance at the plate and in the field this season, the Phillies will be counting on him to re-discover his stroke as a pinch-hitter. An early clinch could help Charlie Manuel get Dobbs into situations where he wouldn't normally use a pinch-hitter.

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