FOR A LITTLE while there, it looked like the Phillies had found their next great pinch-hitter.

Laynce Nix slugged as many pinch-hit home runs this April (two) as he had in his entire career before this season (covering 179 pinch-hit plate appearances). And he was hitting .538 (7-for-13) off the bench.

But then something happened: May.

Since tearing a page off the calendar, Nix has turned from Rogers Hornsby to Ryan Howard . . . going 0-for-8 and striking out in half of his pinch-hit at-bats (entering this weekend's series against the Reds).

That's a lot more in line with his pinch-hit numbers prior to this season, when he went .181/.263/.263 and struck out nearly a third of the time.

His career numbers as a pinch-hitter:

AB H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO Avg. OBA Slg. K/AB

Through 2012160 29 7 0 2 14 18 52 .181 .263 .263 .325

April 201313 7 1 0 2 5 0 3 .538 .538 1.007 .231

May 20138 0 0 0 0 0 0 4 .000 .000 .000 .500