warm the bench

warm the bench  {v. phr.},  {informal}
To act as a substitute on an athletic team.
Bill has been warming the bench for three football seasons; he hopes that the coach will let him play this year.
- bench warmer  {n.},  {informal}
A substitute player.
Last year Ted was only a bench warmer, but this year he is the team's star pitcher.
Categories: informal noun verb