Phillies give struggling Asche a breather

Phillies give struggling Asche a breather

LOS ANGELES -- The first 18 games of the season have been a struggle for Phillies third baseman Cody Asche, so it was no surprise that the left-handed hitter was not in Monday's lineup against Dodgers left-hander Paul Maholm at Dodger Stadium.

Asche is hitting .196 (9-for-46) with two doubles, one home run and three RBIs. He started eight of the season's first 10 games, but just five of the last nine.

"He's not playing as well as we'd like," Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said. "But we have to give him chances to play."

The Phillies picture Asche as their everyday third baseman, not only this season, but beyond. But for the moment, the jury is out.

"He hasn't had enough at bats to decide," Amaro said. "The kid is a good player. We just have to give him time to grow up. That's all. Make some adjustments, gain some confidence and go from there."

Manager Ryne Sandberg remains confident Asche will get on track.

"I think in Colorado he made some good adjustments, a base hit up the middle, a base hit to center field," Sandberg said. "And he hit two balls to the shortstop. So that was an approach he was talked to about, using the whole field, not being so pull-happy. I think that was progress and steps in the right direction for him.

"Doing what got you to this point is very, very important. I think with Cody, he's a line-drive hitter. He hits the ball well to left field and left-center field with those pitches. It's basically for him to do what he's done that allowed him to get here. Be yourself, be yourself. Power, all of that, sometimes that comes two, three, four years into it. Hit for average, do your job that way. That goes a long way as far as breaking into the Major Leagues."

Triple-A Lehigh Valley third baseman Maikel Franco isn't a consideration for the Phillies' roster at this point. He has hit .153 (9-for-59) with two doubles, four RBIs, five walks, 15 strikeouts and has a .417 OPS through 16 games.

"Oh, I'm not worried about him," Amaro said. "He hasn't played in the cold weather all that much. "Kids, man. It takes some time to adjust. Children. Same with Asche. Kids. You have to go through some growing pains with the kiddies. Everybody wants everybody to be an All-Star right away. It's not happening."

Todd Zolecki is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.