For a lot of Phillies fans, there were two questions that would be answered in Spring Training: who would be the fifth outfielder and why was Hector Luna playing in every Spring Training game? Luna, nicknamed “Big Tuna” by beat-writer David Hale, put on an early ST power display and played in nearly every game, whether at first or third. The Phils, in need of a solution at first, seemed to be flirting with the idea of keeping Luna as the roster grew thinner and thinner. Luna hit .302/.351/.528 with 3 HRs for the Fightins before being assigned to Triple-A just before the start of the regular season, becoming sort of an internet darling and a Spring Training cult favorite.
A slow start by Ty Wigginton had fans clamoring for the righty from the Domican Republic. On May 11, Luna was called to the big club to replace the injured Laynce Nix. Luna would not see action until May 16 against the Chicago Cubs in Wrigley. He wasted no time contributing: on the second pitch he saw as a Phil, Luna parked a middle-in fastball a few rows deep into left with the bases loaded off of Michael Bowden, giving the Phils a 9-2 advantage. It was Luna’s first career grand slam and was the first of his two home runs he would hit for the Phils in 2012.
Luna saw sporadic playing time with the Phils throughout the remainder of 2012, playing in just 28 games, hitting .226/.273/.355 but won over quite a few fans. Luna’s slam gave instant credibility to those who said “I told you so” as to why he should have been on the roster from day one – unfortunately, the rest of his time with the Phils did not. Luna was designated for assignment on August 30 and claimed by the Pirates on August 31. He would not reach the plate with the Bucs.