TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) -Ryan Spilborghs knows his role with the team - provide outfield relief and serve as the entertainment coordinator.
The Colorado Rockies backup outfielder has proven equally adept at both. He hit .299 with 11 homers last season while also organizing such jaunts as seeing the Sears Tower in Chicago, getting tattoos at Miami Ink and taking an excursion along the Freedom Trail in Boston.
``I always kid him that he should run for mayor,'' utility player Jeff Baker said. ``He makes people feel comfortable. He bridges the gap between a lot of guys. Because of what Spilly's done, you have guys who might not normally hang out becoming great friends. He's a huge addition to the club because of that.''
Besides being a skilled trip organizer, Spilborghs was also a highly productive reserve outfielder last season, mostly spelling Brad Hawpe in right and Willy Taveras in center. He finished with 51 RBIs, which was tied for second-most in the majors among players with less than 270 at-bats.
But what he took the most pride in was his ability to come up with the clutch hit off the bench. Spilborghs hit .310 as a pinch hitter in helping the Rockies to the NL pennant.
``Of course you'd like to be a starter,'' the 28-year-old said. ``But I have no problem with my role. I'd much rather be on a team that's winning every game than one that's not. This is a team that has a chance to win a lot of games.''
So far this spring, his social planning has been subdued, limited to just weekly dinners. However, he makes sure that everyone is included. His philosophy: the team that dines together, wins together.
``I know everyone here pretty well, so I'm always grabbing different people,'' Spilborghs said. ``I drag people to do stuff that they're not going to do. We have a lot of fun.''
Like on the Freedom Trail in Boston. Spilborghs convinced Garrett Atkins, Matt Holliday and Troy Tulowitzki, to name a few, to go on a trek that wound through the city and visited different historical sites.
Baker and Jeff Francis were sitting at a Boston restaurant when they heard the group just before they rounded a corner.
``Spilly's yelling at Tulo, Tulo's yelling at Holliday, Holliday's yelling at Atkins and me and Francis are dying laughing,'' Baker said. ``It was something I'll never forget.''
Spilborghs has also planned outings to see the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston and the CN Tower in Toronto.
``I'll never forget going to the Holocaust Museum,'' outfielder Cory Sullivan said. ``It was incredible. It opened my eyes.''
Sullivan appreciates the fact Spilborghs plays the role of tour guide in new cities. It beats lounging around the hotel all day.
``You can only walk around the mall and go to lunch so many times,'' Sullivan said. ``We try to find something to do that's individual to that town. Ryan does a great job of that.''
Spilborghs has come to relish his role as a pinch hitter, one in which he's found success. He had nine hits in 29 pinch-hit appearances last season.
``It's a mental approach,'' said Spilborghs, who started last season with Triple-A Colorado Springs before being called up on May 19. ``You have to go up there and be fearless and not worry about the outcome. You have to go up and give as good of an at-bat as you can. It's actually kind of fun.''
The same can be said of being the team's activity coordinator for a city.
``I'm basically a party setter,'' Spilborghs said with a grin.
His teammates are definitely grateful.
``It's a skill,'' Baker said. ``What Spilly's helped on is breaking down the barriers. Whether you're a superstar with 15 years in the league or a rookie, everyone's fair game. Todd Helton takes it and dishes it out. I don't know how many clubhouses are like this. It's unique, that's for sure.''

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