Phillies Ben Lively, Mark Leiter Jr. in big leagues at last

NEW YORK - The moments, separated by about eight hours Tuesday in Allentown, were the culmination of two pitchers' dreams. Mark Leiter Jr. was playing catch on the Coca-Cola Park grass when triple-A manager Dusty Wathan summoned him. Ben Lively, later that night, lounged in his apartment and watched a movie when his phone buzzed.

They were big-leaguers.

"All day long," Lively said, "I was just so pumped for Mark getting called up."

Both pitchers may not be with the Phillies for an extended period. Leiter replaced Howie Kendrick, who went on the 10-day disabled list. Lively arrived to help in the bullpen while reliever Pat Neshek is on paternity leave.

That did not diminish the moments.

Wathan told Leiter he had 40 minutes before a car would take him to Citi Field. Leiter called his wife, Megan, who was nearby in their Allentown apartment. Bring some clothes, he said to her. He arrived about an hour before first pitch, stretched a little, and walked to the bullpen with No. 59 on his back.

Leiter, a 22nd-round pick from NJIT, had family here. His father, Mark, is a former Phillies pitcher who spent parts of 11 seasons in the majors. Leiter's mother and sister scurried from their home in Ocean County.

"A bunch of my buddies bought tickets out in the bleachers, they were in the bullpen area," Leiter said. "Every time somebody got up in the bullpen they were standing on the railing yelling at me. It was good. Everything I would have ever hoped it would be."

Leiter has been both a starter and reliever in his minor-league career. He does not throw hard, but he has endured and pitched his way into a promotion.

Lively, who has appeared on some prospect lists, has been on the cusp of the majors. He is 25. He came to the Phillies from Cincinnati in the Marlon Byrd trade. His 2.69 ERA and 18 wins last season earned him the organization's top pitching honors.

"The past couple of years have been just that close," Lively said. "Everyone is always saying you're just a phone call away and the phone call came at midnight. It was a lot different than getting called in the office after the game."

Lively was scheduled to start Thursday for Lehigh Valley. He's never been a reliever in his career. He will soon return to the minors. What can he accomplish here?

"Get my feet wet," Lively said. "I know that my name is right there. They can call me whenever."

Leiter, when he appears in a game, would form half of the second father-son duo in Phillies history. The Amaros, Ruben Sr. and Ruben Jr., are the other.

"That's incredible," Leiter said. "I'm proud of that. That's something that I've dreamed about and me and my dad have talked about. That was the goal. I would love to have a career he had. I would love that. I'm excited to be here and looking forward to everything that's coming."

Extra bases

The Phillies could have added another outfielder to replace Kendrick on the active roster but instead opted for a reliever. That means a combination of Daniel Nava, Aaron Altherr, and Brock Stassi will fill left field for the next week, until Kendrick is eligible to return. The Phillies will carry eight relievers and play with a short bench. Manager Pete Mackanin sees it as a good fit, for now. It enables him to find some playing time for his reserves. Nava started Tuesday and Altherr played Wednesday. . . . Aaron Nola will oppose Noah Syndergaard in the series finale Thursday.